Photos: Milton Eng
More than 150 full-time and adjunct faculty, professional staff and students demonstrated at William Paterson University calling for a fair deal for workers in state contract negotiations and protesting the lack of shared governance and transparency at the university. AFT members have been working without a state contract since July 1, 2015.
The March 2 rally helped raise awareness on campus that faculty, librarians and professional staff at NJ public colleges and universities have suffered economically for years due to health insurance costs exceeding minimal non-competitive salary increases. In addition, faculty members have routinely been denied promotion despite being both pre-approved in the university budget and being unanimously endorsed by faculty committees.
According to Susanna Tardi, a sociology professor and President of the William Paterson AFT local, “The new state contract proposals under negotiation are even more draconian than previous contracts with proposed salary freezes resulting in an additional 25-35% cut in take home pay. Cuts of this magnitude will cripple the university’s ability to attract and retain quality faculty and preserve a quality learning environment for students.”
Local members are calling on the state to stop foot dragging in contract negotiations, bargain a fair contract, and increase financial support of higher education in New Jersey. “People, including students, are fired up and are organizing for more actions in the coming weeks,” said art history professor Maggie Williams.