Hundreds of unionized faculty members at nine New Jersey public colleges rallied Wednesday for new contracts that call for equality and higher pay, following votes by three union groups authorizing leaders to call a strike if they think that step is needed as part of contract negotiations with the state.
The Council of New Jersey State College Locals, made up of 11 locals and representing 10,000 full-time and part-time faculty, librarians and professional staff, has been meeting with state representatives since March to negotiate a new contract for its members.
The old contract ended in June, but language in the agreement says the old deal “shall automatically be renewed from year to year thereafter” unless either side says it wants to terminate, modify or amend the agreement.
Full and part-time faculty unions at Montclair State University joined hundreds of other union members at nine NJ colleges to call attention to contentious contract negotiations. (Photo: Rich Wolfson)
“But the state and university presidents have taken their authority to suspend parts of the contract while we’re in negotiations,” said Rich Wolfson, president of the full-time faculty union at Montclair State University. “They’ve decided to suspend the career development program – which is a huge program on all of our campuses — and vision care, for example.”
Professors can’t request reimbursement for career development programs such as conferences and other events for their profession, Wolfson said.