Educators Rally For Change at NJCU
What would you do if you saw your professors carrying a coffin onto campus? This happened at NJCU yesterday, read why.
11 state-wide American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Representatives mobilized across the state including AFT Local 1839 who organized a labor rally with the support from New Jersey City University (NJCU) educators, students, parents, and concerned community members.
On Wednesday, November 20th at 2:00 pm on the NJCU campus, ralliers came out in full force to let their administration and student body know how critical negotiating a fair contract is to protect and defend public higher education. The President of AFT local, Barbara Hildner was in attendance and spoke on the importance of getting a fair contract in order and expressed how the proposals from the state “are not in the best interest of our members, in the best interest of our students or the best interest of the University.” Other professors from all different subject areas spoke on their reasons for rallying and their experiences with strikes, especially retired NJCU English Professor, Nicholas Gordon who stated that without the members willingness to strike no change will occur. To top it off a band was playing to lift spirits and fuel the rally supporters who were waving signs, singing, and passing around a petition
What do they want?
AFT prioritizes maintaining and increasing the quality of higher education including keeping tuition affordable, job security, and pay equity. At the bargaining table, the Union is fighting for improved working conditions, salaries and benefits for its members. This means they want contract language that guarantees the continuation of contracts after the expiration of future contracts and to accept their proposal for binding arbitration so their arbitrator can not simply be ignored when settling disputes.
How did it get to this point?
10,000 union members have been working without a contract since July 2019. State and College/University Presidents have refused demands to agree to multi-year contracts and yearly salary increases for non-tenure faculty that include Lecturers and Specialists. State and College/University Presidents believe that adjunct faculty labor is worth less than full-time teaching work and refused to provide living wages. They have also refused to sign off on contractual protections for continued increments at the expiration of future contracts. Working conditions have been ignored with campus halls going without heat affecting teaching, learning and the health of those working or learning in those halls.
Now all demonstrators are in anticipation to see the response from the State and College/University Presidents. If no action is taken the probability of strike rises.