College Council adjuncts, who teach at the nine state colleges and universities, voted to accept a new contract granting salary increases and better procedures in accepting teaching assignments.
The ballots were counted on April 19. The Council considers this an overwhelming validation of your negotiation team’s many months of hard work to get the best deal possible during a very long period of very difficult bargaining with the State on your behalf. The ratified agreement runs from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2015.
After over a year of difficult negotiations with the State and the State College/University presidents, the Council of New Jersey State College Locals reached a tentative agreement late Friday, January 25. This agreement provides for a per credit hour base salary increase of 8.33% for more than four thousand adjunct faculty over the life of the Agreement. The State’s initial proposal was a 0% increase for the duration of the agreement as well as other onerous demands in their proposals. The State also firmly rejected most of the proposed contract improvements the Council proposed but the Council’s negotiating team tenaciously worked hard for the agreement that was ultimately reached. This tentative agreement is subject to member ratification.
A contract ratification vote will take place in March-April, 2013. Ballots will be mailed on March 28, 2013 to full dues paying members who have worked in the Fall 2012 semester and/or Spring 2013 semester. Ballots must be received in the Council office by 3 PM April 18, 2013 and will be counted on April 19, 2013. Any ballot not received by April 18, 2013 will not be counted.
For an entire listing of the items agreed to and the exact language, go here.
State’s demands were ‘onerous’ and ‘unprecedented,’ say negotiators
After 14 months of difficult negotiations with the state, and with state college and university presidents, the Council of New Jersey State College Locals reached a tentative agreement on July 2. The contract, which will cover more than 4,000 full-time faculty, librarians and professional staff at nine institutions, is retroactive to July 1, 2011, and runs through June 30, 2015.
CNJSCL president Nicholas Yovnello told NJ Today, a local newspaper, that the negotiations were the most difficult in his 40 years of bargaining. “We were able to withstand demands that would have decreased our ability to attract and retain skilled faculty, librarians and professional staff.” The agreement provides pay raises comparable to those of other state unions—0 percent for the first two years, 1 percent for the third year and 1.75 percent for the fourth year. It also “gives our members funding for professional development to build skills and contains an agreement that supports sabbaticals for faculty,” he said.
Tragically, Yovnello was killed in a car accident five days after the team reached the agreement.
EWING — Although a tentative agreement was drafted last week between the state and the bargaining agent for faculty at New Jersey’s nine state colleges and universities, questions remain about the issue of sabbaticals.
David Karas / The Times of Trenton Hundreds of professors and professional staffers participated in a Day of Action on the TCNJ campus Thursday to rally support for their ongoing contract negotiations with the state. AFT members have been without a contract for a year now.
A freeze was put on sabbaticals for all state colleges and universities during the past academic year as faculty members worked without a contract, according to Steve Young, president of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals-American Federation of Teachers.
Under the tentative agreement, which members will vote on in September, college and university presidents would be able to determine how many sabbaticals are awarded and set guidelines for the process, Young said.
At TCNJ, Ralph Edelbach, president of AFT Local 2364, said campus leaders — particularly President R. Barbara Gitenstein — will not set up a sabbatical program before the contract is voted on, and thus, will not be able to award any for the fall semester.
“Nobody has been notified for sure, which has a lot of people stressed out,” said Edelbach, who added that some faculty members who applied for sabbaticals felt they had a strong chance of being recommended by a committee, and some had made arrangements for research travel or programming. “That leaves people hanging.”
The union representing faculty and professional staff at nine state colleges and universities has reached a tentative contract after 14 months of working without one. While the agreement, reached last Wednesday, was a relief for the Council of New Jersey State College Locals, the council’s president, Nicholas Yovnello, was killed in a car crash Saturday. Council of New Jersey State College Locals Executive Director Steve Young told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Yovnello’s passing was a tragedy for all involved. He also explained the new contract, calling the agreement “defensive,” and said it maintained the status quo in most areas.
Young said the new deal is “a defensive contract” that didn’t provide the council any gains. “No union has made a gain in a contract with the state right now,” he said. He added that university presidents also offered an unprecedented number of proposals that Young said attacked the contract and some union rights.
“We have an unusual contract because no matter where you teach and no matter what you teach, whatever range and step you’re in, it’s equal,” Young said. “It provides equality for women, men, everything. And what you teach as well.”
EDISON — The union representing full-time faculty, librarians and professional staff at nine state colleges and universities in New Jersey has reached a tentative labor contract with the state.
If it’s ratified, the four-year contract would be retroactive to July 1, 2011.
Member activism helped achieve accord for full-time faculty, librarians and professional staff
EDISON… The Council of New Jersey State College Locals reached an accord late Monday that protects working conditions for more than four thousand full-time faculty, librarians and professional staff at all nine state colleges and universities, according to College Council President Nick Yovnello, the Assistant Director of Library Services at Rowan University. Yovnello characterized discussions as the most difficult in his 40 years of bargaining, but after intensive multiple sessions in June, the four-year accord grants pay raises comparable with other state unions, increases in summer session and overload rates and more stable funding for professional development.
Negotiations for a new contract for more than 4,000 adjunct professors will continue later this month.
College Council members at The College of New Jersey, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College, Richard Stockton College, Rowan University, Thomas Edison State College and William Paterson University held demonstrations in April to call for fairness. “In a challenging bargaining environment, we were able to withstand demands that would have decreased our ability to attract and retain skilled faculty, librarians and professional staff,” said Yovnello. “This tentative agreement gives our members funding for professional development to build skills and contains an agreement that supports sabbaticals for faculty.”
With Gov. Chris Christie’s deadline for merging Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden approaching, debate is still raging over the plan. There have been some questions about the position of the teaching staff at Rowan University. Professor Karen Siefring, who is the president of Local 2373 of the New Jersey American Federation of Teachers (AFT), spoke with NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider about the merger plan and ongoing contract negotiations for teaching staff.
Siefring said the local union’s position on the Rutgers-Rowan merger has remain unchanged. “We’re basically neutral about the merger,” she said, adding when union representatives testified before the Higher Education Commission on the Rowan campus, they said the commission could either support or reject the report.
While the Local 2373 union has chosen to remain neutral, Siefring said that the group has supported other unions’ positions to oppose the merger. “We’re part of a coalition of unions and in that we’re supporting all the unions’ positions, their individual positions, on the matter,” she said. “Supporting them in doing what they feel is best for their members and their organization isn’t the same as supporting the positions that they’re taking.”
Members of AFT Local 2373 have not had a contract in nearly a year, Siefring said, adding to the uncertainty. Professors and faculty members on campuses throughout the state held rallies recently to bring attention to the lack of a contract. While negotiations have taken time, Seifring is hopeful a settlement can be reached.
“I think having the rallies is just showing that we’re all behind each other and all supporting each other and moving this forward. I believe there’s been some motion from the state and some motion from us so I’m hopeful that it will be resolved,” she said. “I think it will probably take us through the summer but I’m always hopeful that reasonable people can come with together and have reasonable decisions.”
Siefring said she believes contract negotiations will continue for some time. To reach a deal, she said both sides need “to come to the table ready to make the decisions that need to be made.”
On Wednesday, April 25 my colleagues and I participated in a statewide coordinated “Day of Action” to protest draconian proposals from the Governor’s Office of Employment Relations, which would significantly weaken teaching and learning conditions in New Jersey’s institutions of higher education.
The Governor’s office has taken the unprecedented action of withholding cost of living increases and suspending traditional academic programs such as sabbatical leave and career development undermining the research missions at the nine state colleges and universities and further challenging a system of higher education already seriously impacted by years of underfunding and neglect from the state.
Despite the fact that CWA recently settled their contract (subject to member ratification), we are not optimistic that the State and the presidents are willing to start to move to contract settlement and give us important contract language contained in the new CWA agreement. This is even more apparent because of the Rutgers settlement several months ago that contained salary language that the State and presidents proposed to us that we cannot agree to. However, negotiations are continuing and may drag on into the summer months or beyond. Please continue to spread the bitter truth to your colleagues, especially those who think their administration is their friend. Talk to your local President. They are the ones who are behind most of these demands, and if they claim they are not, then they can urge the State to drop them. Continue pushing them to do what it will take to get a fair and decent contract for everyone.