In recent weeks, everyone from Time Magazine, to Britney Spears, to Rutgers President Robert Barchi is saluting heath care workers as "heroes." Today, University Hospital CEO Shereef Elnahal announced University Hospital (Newark) will be paying their staff "hero pay" for the remainder of the crisis. He further stated he was not sure how he would pay for it, but he thought it was the right thing to do anyway. Many NY and NJ hospitals have done the same. Contrast that with NJMS/RWJMS Interim Dean Robert Johnson's statement during a RWJMS faculty meeting yesterday focusing on budget issues, whereupon he said there would be "workforce reductions" and encouraged "detenuring proceedings." Please know that the university is not broke. In fact, it has over $1 billion in reserves.
In the last three weeks, we have heard radio silence as to the status of our contract that is almost two years late, little information concerning the availability of PPE, and no response to whether faculty who have to forgo vacation time will be allowed to carry it over into the next year.
It's time that the administration settles our contract which would provide you with the dignity you deserve. That would send a powerful message that it stands behind you in such a critical time and invests in the very faculty it considers heroes.
Whether you are taking care of COVID-19 patients or not, this a time when we need to pull together and show our university leaders the value you are providing to Rutgers, our state, and our country.
We will be asking you to join us in that effort and will be sharing details soon.