Rutgers AAUP-AFT Collaboration

Collaboration Agreement (AAUP-AFT & AAUP-BHSNJ)

In the current climate, both the AAUP-BHSNJ and the AAUP-AFT face a myriad of challenges. These include maintaining membership and financial stability in the wake of the Janus v. AFSCME decision, winning strong contracts for all Rutgers faculty, and preventing the privatization/ erosion of Rutgers jobs. As such, given that there is a significant alignment of interests, we propose to form a joint committee to implement this Collaboration Agreement. Any committee recommendations not outlined in this Agreement will be brought to the governing council of each organization before any final implementation.

Future Goals of both AAUP-BHSNJ and Rutgers AAUP-AFT

  • Bring an end to the culture of fear, retaliation, apathy, and silence that exists at RBHS and the otherwise hostile attitude to faculty. Convert to a culture of engagement with a strong faculty voice.
  • Increase membership and engagement in both AAUP organizations
  • Establish the AAUP as a respected and normal part of the Rutgers, RBHS and Rowan institutions
  • Achieve efficiency though combining operational expenses while preserving autonomy, ability to control messaging, and identity
  • Increase leverage at the bargaining table to achieve fair and timely contracts
  • Align contracts so that the dignity of faculty on all campuses is protected
  • Support Rutgers union coalition efforts to “Bargain for the Common Good”
  • Enhance the strength and influence of both unions at the state level through larger numbers and greater collaboration
  • Dedicate more leadership and staff time to core AAUP functions

This joint committee will focus on the following:

Membership: Both unions are seeking to better organize their members. There presently exists a contract between both organizations to assist AAUP-BHSNJ in its effort to increase membership. The committee should look at longer-term strategies to boost union membership and faculty engagement. The committee will also take into consideration legislative and legal changes. For example, the New Jersey Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act, recently signed by the governor, will provide for “wall-to-wall” bargaining units. Hence, both AAUP-BHSNJ and AAUP-AFT will be able to represent faculty with less than .5 FTE appointments. Also, it is possible the AAUP-AFT may be able to represent RBHS post-docs that are not presently in their bargaining unit. The Act will also guarantee time to talk to new employees and provide for electronic membership forms. The committee will analyze which new employee categories to organize and how to continue efforts to increase membership and engagement for employees working in existing bargaining units. AAUP-AFT will also help AAUP-BHSNJ update and track membership by seeking ways to integrate their systems for tracking members.

Achieving Efficiency through Combining Operational Expenses: In the wake of Janus v. AFSCME, there is a need for both organizations to cut costs. The committee should look at what services can be combined to reduce redundancy between both organizations. Among those that could be looked at are payroll, office space, office supplies, insurance costs, IT services, lobbying, etc. Another item that is a significant expense are the dues paid to AAUP national. The committee should look at ways we can harness our combined membership to bargain for lower affiliation fees going forward.

Bargaining: Both unions are currently negotiating new contracts with Rutgers. There are many contract articles that both collective bargaining agreements have in common. The AAUP-BHSNJ is seeking to align its agreement with AAUP-AFT. As such, both organizations are committed to coordination of bargaining to reach agreements simultaneously. AAUP-AFT understands that there are issues with respect to compensation, A&P Guidelines, and matters related to RWJ Barnabas that are unique to AAUP-BHSNJ. The committee will look at ways that both organizations can build leverage at the bargaining table. For instance, given a new law making it easier to sue for gender pay discrimination, a lawsuit or grievance on this issue might create pressure at the bargaining table to address the problem. It will also determine how to support AAUP-AFT efforts to “bargain for the common good.”

Government Relations: AAUP-AFT and AAUP-BHSNJ currently employ the same lobbyist and have been working to pass legislative protections into law concerning the RWJ Barnabas alignment. These efforts will continue. The committee should explore ways to combine expenditures on government relations and further strategize about the best approach to this work.