By Katie Park
Members of the Rutgers University faculty are locked in a bargaining session for better working conditions and salaries with the University administration.
Despite negotiations with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, few concessions have been considered.
The AAUP-AFT at Rutgers is a large and comprehensive union that represents tenure-track and non-tenure track professors, teaching assistants and graduate assistants, said Sherry Wolf, the contract campaign coordinator for the association.
Faculties at the three Rutgers campuses are included in the union, she said. Currently, the AAUP-AFT is negotiating for better promotions, salaries and work contracts, particularly for non-tenure track faculty members.
“We would like to see, at minimum, every faculty member make at least $55,000 a year,” Wolf said. “This is not an unusual demand for people who have higher education and who are doing an enormous amount of research and instruction.”
The union’s salary request for Rutgers faculty shows current salaries can be compared to those received by faculty at local high schools and community colleges in the surrounding areas, according to a report provided on the AAUP-AFT’s website.
Whereas a full-time assistant instructor with a doctoral degree earns up to $39,000 per year at Rutgers, less than 15 minutes away in Piscataway, a public high school teacher with a master’s degree earns $53,110 per year.
“Students need to understand that 31 percent of the faculty teaching classes have no tenure whatsoever,” Wolf said. “They have no job security and for many of them, their wages are very low.”
She said the predicaments experienced by non-tenured professors are not shared by upper-level administration, particularly those who sit across from the bargaining table with the AAUP-AFT.
“There is not one faculty member, to my knowledge, who is making anything like what President [Robert L.] Barchi is making,” Wolf said.