We regret to inform you that despite somewhat productive discussions throughout the month of June, we have not reached agreement on your faculty collective bargaining agreement with the University. We had hoped by this late date that the university would value your contributions and heroism amid the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, it does not. While this is disappointing, we remain steadfast in protecting your job and your dignity. The University's current proposed contract could do real harm to you.
Here are several examples with respect to compensation:
Starting today, the absence of a union agreement will actually cost the University money.
- Cuts to your overall salary by as much by 4% based on arbitrary and ill-defined criteria, such as "professionalism." (Note that University's original proposal was 10%)
- Poison pills such as the following sentence "A negotiations unit member who does not submit these evaluation materials to the Chair by the first working day in June of each year shall not be eligible for a merit increase for that Fiscal Year" So for all of you that did not submit an evaluation by June 1st 2020, sorry, you are out of luck. The Chancellor does not care how many courses you rushed to put online as COVID-19 hit us or how many lives you have saved as a result of this pandemic.
- Due to the "fiscal emergency," the University seeks to delay merit raises, based on this month's salary to October 2021, and the following year's raise from July 2021 to October 2022. (No other union has agreed to this. In fact, our sister union, the Rutgers AAUP-AFT is filing for arbitration for taking its current raise away. )
- Allowing the Dean to unilaterally increase "taxes" on NJMS clinical faculty collections where historically faculty have voted on such increases.
That's right. The University will spend more money without an AAUP-BHSNJ agreement than with one. How can this be? Various default provisions have been triggered in "the UPA Principle Points" document. Not to go too into the weeds here, but this is the current agreement between the New Jersey Medical School and the faculty practice (UPA). Under one default provision, the University must pay NJMS clinical faculty the same percentage of collections as they did as of June 30, 2020 when there is "no legally binding compensation plan with its applicable union" As of yesterday, those faculty do not pay for functions related to running the practice. This amount could be as much $8 - $13 million per year depending on how much the practice collects. Our current union proposal covers most of these costs. These amounts are also less than whatever raises faculty could potentially receive on their base pay. Thus, the absence of agreement means a net cost to the university.
It is amazing that the university insists it has a "financial emergency." You can see this is a farce. About a month ago, the University walked away from a Coalition of Rutgers Union proposal that would have saved it at least $107 million. It has instead opted for piece meal approaches such as layoffs of cleaning personnel, threatening those that are tenured, and freezing of faculty money in discretionary accounts. This is all while high-paid university officials take little by way of pay cuts.
We know it is difficult. However, we also know this irrational behavior is not sustainable. And while feelings of frustration, apprehension, and melancholy are completely understandable, it is times like these that measure our resolve to remain committed each other and to our principles. While President Barchi could not be persuaded of these virtues, we are hopeful incoming President Holloway will be.
Please come to our town hall Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 6 p.m.
When: Jul 7, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Town Hall July 7, 2020 6:00 PM
Please click the link below to join the webinar: