Bargaining Report #9

We were back in negotiations on Wednesday, November 15th in bargaining over a new graduate student worker and post-doc contract.

The impact of our successful rally continues to be felt at the table, where we brought a large and articulate group of graduate student employees to discuss different aspects of the administration’s proposals.

We negotiated back and forth over healthcare costs, summer funding for graduate student workers, parking costs, and wages. Like with our proposed adjunct contract, the administration has agreed to our framework of a contract running up to the summer of 2019, ramping up the timeline for our members to receive salary increases and improved conditions.

The administration’s team was cordial and also engaged with us in a discussion about the impending Trump tax plan, which if passed unchanged, would lead to huge increases for graduate student workers’ tax burden. By our calculations, the average out of state NJIT graduate student would now pay around $5,000 per year in federal income taxes.

This is an unacceptable provision that would saddle already underpaid grads with an enormous tax bill every year, and we aim to win NJIT’s support to stand with us against the Trump tax plan. Their team offered to sign on to a joint letter opposing the graduate income provision of the tax bill, which we are moving quickly to organize against. We are hopeful that if the bill goes through, our union can negotiate a suitable workaround with the administration to avoid this attack on our member’s take home pay.

We have additional bargaining sessions scheduled in the coming weeks, and look forward to pulling together a fair contract that advances all of our members.

Your Bargaining Team,

Subash Ray, Graduate Employee, Biology
Nikola Bosnjak, Graduate Employee, Mechanical Engineering
Patrick Nowlan, Executive Director, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Joe Richard, Lead Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Jacob Chaffin, Organizer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT