Rider University begins the year with a possible faculty strike looming
LAWRENCEVILLE — Students return to Rider University over Labor Day weekend amid the threat of a walkout by members of the faculty union.
The Rider Chapter of the American Association of College Teachers said it had authorized a strike if an agreement on a “fair and equitable contract” was not reached. A negotiation session was scheduled for Friday.
No strike date has been announced but it would apparently not be right away.
If no agreement is reached, the union said information pickets would be set up daily from Sunday when students move into their dorms, as well as for the next week during a new student convocation on Tuesday, overseen by Rider president Gregory Dell’Omo.
“AAUP’s goal is to make small, incremental improvements to the contract and receive the first cost-of-living increase in nearly a decade,” the union said in a statement. “The administration’s goal is to fundamentally change the working conditions of professors by increasing their workload and reducing their pay.”
Nibble on the edges
Agreements have been reached on such matters as association privileges, personnel records, grievances and arbitration and appointments. It’s bigger financial issues that separate the two sides.
According to the union, Rider asked the union to agree to increases in health insurance, the elimination of all benefits for adjunct professors, lower starting salaries for lecturers, no annual raise and the maintenance of the reduced contribution to our retirement accounts.
Rider spokeswoman Kristine Brown said the university faces serious financial challenges that affect its competitiveness and the sustainability of its financial model. Many other nonprofit colleges and universities face the same issues.
“The University is seeking savings in a variety of ways through labor negotiations with the AAUP,” Brown said. “Rider’s faculty pay rates generally remain higher than those of regional counterpart institutions. Under current conditions, the University does not believe it is possible for Rider to maintain a higher cost of education than our institutions. counterparts.”
Brown said Rider increased the amount of student financial aid despite declining income.
Union says Rider threatened to destroy representation
“A renegotiated employment contract with AAUP will help achieve near-term cost reductions and longer-term structural adjustments that will ultimately position Rider to achieve financial stability, while providing bargaining unit members with competitive terms of employment,” Brown said.
Union says Rider threatened to take away teachers’ collective bargaining rights if they didn’t agree to work more for less pay by asking the National Labor Relations Board to bar AAUP from representing teachers on time full.
Classes are due to start at Rider on Wednesday, September 7.
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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