All posts by jacob chaffin

Contract Bargaining Report #3

Our negotiating team was back at the table on Tuesday the 22nd to bargain with the administration for both adjunct instructors as well as graduate and research employees. You can find the UCAN graduate employee proposal here and the adjunct proposal here.
Their team responded to our proposals by only sending us counter-proposals for a graduate and research employee contract (found here). We’re still waiting to receive their counter-proposals for an adjunct contract. Both our original proposals and their counters are posted on the website. Take a look, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to talk with a bargaining team member for clarification.
We sparred with the administration’s team over the issue of wages, parking fees, dates for reappointment, union representation, paid orientations for graduate and research employees, an effective grievance procedure, as well as workload. The administration’s team is insisting on raising the minimum graduate employee salary to $22,000 per year, despite the fact that most graduate employees already earn more or a comparable amount, effectively putting forward a 0% increase for most graduate employees.
We pushed for equity with graduate employees at Rutgers University, which means we want a 15 hour workweek rather than the current 20, equal pay for equal work, better healthcare, and cheaper parking. The administration insists that graduate employees are students first, and should be treated as students rather than as workers. We insist that as legally recognized public employees in the state of New Jersey, graduate employees deserve the same treatment as any other employee in higher education.
We also pushed for the elimination of a probationary period for research employees, to guarantee the payout of unused vacation time, as well as wage increases.
We made a number of additional information requests, and the administration’s team agreed to supply us with documentation about their policies on:
  1. violence in the workplace,
  2. academic freedom,
  3. tuition remission,
  4. health care benefits,
The administration’s team also told us in no uncertain terms that their standing orders are to settle our two contracts rather than delaying, so we look forward to meaningful good faith negotiations. We’ll be back at the table next week. We’ve proposed six more bargaining dates for the month of September, and we’re eagerly awaiting their counter-proposals for an adjunct contract, which we expect next week. If you have any questions or would like any clarifications, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Finally, we are looking to set up department meetings to update everyone on the contract negotiations and discuss next steps. Please email Jacob Chaffin at if you are interested in having a union representative talk to your department.

Contract Bargaining Report #2

Our team was back at the negotiating table with the administration Tuesday, July 25th, and we’re happy to report on our second bargaining session.

Using the information we’ve collected over the last academic year through hundreds of in-person interviews, and supplemented with all of your responses to our recent bargaining surveys, we put forward a batch of creative proposals that would dramatically improve the lives and working conditions for the nearly 800 academic workers that will be covered under any future contracts.

Among many other things, we put forward proposals to:

Significantly raise adjunct salaries and create a system of additional ranks of Adjunct Instructor II and III with higher salaries and multi-year contracts,
Raise graduate employee wages to the level of parity with Rutgers salaries and lower the expected clock hour workload from 20 to 15,
Early mandatory deadlines for reappointment for all covered employees,
Full tuition remission for adjuncts and their dependent children,
Lowered parking costs for all covered employees,
Paid orientations for all new employees to provide them with access to necessary information and resources in order to perform effectively at work
Expanded sick and personal leave for all covered employees,
Unused vacation payout for research employees and post-docs

We also formally requested information from the administration around issues of graduate employee summer funding, health insurance plans for all covered employees, and mandatory fees in order to have accurate data with which to craft specific improvements which we will also submit soon.

The administration spent the session listening to our proposals, and informed us that they would give us a complete response at our next session, as well as some proposals of their own. We agreed on multiple bargaining dates in late August to give them time to prepare, and are ready to work hard to reach a fair settlement soon.

Susan Bristol, Adjunct Instructor, CoAD
Subash K. Ray, Research Assistant, Biology
Jeffrey Reaves, Adjunct Instructor, NCE
Patrick Nowlan, Executive Director, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Joe Richard, Organizer, AAUP-AFT
Victoria Pacheco, Staff Associate, AAUP-AFT
Jacob Chaffin, Organizer, AAUP-AFT

Contract Bargaining Report 1

June 28, 2017

It’s our pleasure to report to you on our first bargaining session with the administration of NJIT, which took place on Tuesday afternoon, June 27th. Given that this was our first meeting between our union’s bargaining team and representatives from the administration, it was a short session focused mainly around introductions and outlining our goals in broad strokes.

We told the administration that we anticipate bargaining in good faith and working to achieve just and equitable contracts improving the wages and working conditions for all graduate employees, adjuncts, and post-doctoral researchers in every academic unit at NJIT. We told them we are eager to get to work negotiating, and that we intend to spend the summer putting forward concrete proposals for their consideration.

The administration’s team responded to us, and though we can anticipate areas of disagreement, their lead negotiator assured us of treating our union’s bargaining team and the entire workforce with respect and dignity. We plan to hold them to their promise. We committed to working straightaway to get into meaningful negotiations with them and commit our proposals to paper for them to review.

During our recent unionization campaign, adjunct, post-doc and graduate employee members of our Organizing Committee met with and interviewed hundreds of people all across NJIT from different backgrounds. We heard loud and clear the serious issues we need to improve upon at NJIT.

UCAN Bargaining Team
Susan Bristol, CoAD, Adjunct Instructor
Jeff Reaves, NCE, Adjunct Instructor
Subash K. Ray, Biology, Research Assistant
Patrick Nolan, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Executive Director
Joe Richard, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Organizer
Jacob Chaffin, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Organizer

April General Membership Meeting

On February 22nd, United Council of Academics at NJIT (UCAN) held an election to ratify a constitution, which included an affiliation and alliance with the Rutgers Council of AAUP Chapters, and to elect interim-Officers. This election represented a major step forward for UCAN in pursuit of building a strong labor organization for academic workers on campus. In accordance with the constitution, UCAN must hold another election for the coming year.

Important Voting Info:
General Membership Meeting and Election Nominations
When: Monday, April 10th
Where: Campus Center 240

General Election– April 26th and 27th

You must be a member of UCAN to participate and vote in the upcoming election.

We will be holding the first General Membership Meeting on April 10th where we will be accepting nominations for the following positions:
– serves on the Executive Board and committees, represents UCAN in all official capacities, and is responsible for annual reports the membership.

Vice President– serves in the absence of the president, maintains official non-financial records of the organization, oversees the Elections Committee.

Secretary– Treasurer- oversee and maintain all financial and membership records.

Executive Board– Meet monthly to set policy for the organization. Open seats for:
One graduate employee or postdoctoral fellow

All information pertaining to the duties of the Executive Committee can be found in Article VI and V of the UCAN Constitution. To request a copy of the constitution, please respond to this email and a copy will be delivered to you.

UCAN Officers and Executive Committee members can be nominated:
From the Floor— Nominations may be made from the floor of the April 10th General Membership Meeting, with candidates approved by vote of the membership meeting.

By Petition–To be nominated a candidate must submit to the Elections Committee a petition containing the signatures of twenty (20) signed up union members. Petitions must be submitted by the April 10th General Membership Meeting.

Any signed-up union member is eligible to hold office. Members nominated to run for office must affirmatively accept their nomination, and the terms for all positions are 1 year.

Elections for UCAN officers will be held by secret ballot on April 26th and 27th. The majority of the ballots cast shall determine the outcome of the election. Results of the election will be published and notifications will be sent to members after fifteen (15) days of the election.

Only members of UCAN will be allowed to vote in the election. The mission of UCAN is to create an active membership that sets the priorities and activities of the union for continued organizing and advocacy. I have attached a membership form to this email. In order to vote  you must fill out and return the membership form.