Friday, November 12, 2010

Fight Attempts to Dissolve The Bargaining Unit

Dear Unit Members,

Attached are two documents. The first is the letter that the Presidents of the State Colleges and Universities sent to the legislative leaders in Trenton regarding breaking up our bargaining unit.
The second letter is the Council of New Jersey State Locals' (Council) response to this letter which was sent on November 11, 2010 to the
legislative leadership, which I signed on behalf of our Local.
Be assured, the Council and the officers of AFT Local 1904 will
continue to fight the attempt to dissolve our bargaining unit. However,
we need you to continue to call your state legislators and
voice your opposition the following bills: S-2026/A-2963; S-2338/A-3220;

In Solidarity,
Jennifer S. Higgins
President, AFT Local 1904

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Assembly Democrats Call on Christie to End His War on Higher Education

(TRENTON) – The lead Assembly sponsors of a law passed in January to create greater accountability and transparency at state colleges and universities today urged Governor Christie to call a truce in his war on New Jersey’s education system and stop cherry-picking the laws he chooses to implement.
The sponsors - Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan, Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. and Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt - sent a letter to Christie today urging him to act immediately to fulfill his obligation under the new law to nominate an individual to the newly created cabinet-level post of Secretary of Higher Education. [read more]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Election Committee Clarification

After due consideration, the Local 1904 Election Committee wishes to clarify that participation in the Special Election for president of AFT Local 1904 should be extended to all members in good standing as of October 15, 2010.  Members in good standing as of October 15, 2010 shall be eligible to submit nominations petitions, sign petitions and vote in the Special Election.  We regret that if you were not a member in full standing as of October 15 you cannot participate in the current election process and do hope that you will consider becoming a full member of the AFT Local 1904 in the near future.

Please remember that the deadline for petitions is November 15, 2010 and for the submission of ballots December 6, 2010.

AFT Local 1904 Election Committee

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Special Election Update

The Elections Committee (Committee) had its first meeting on October 25, 2010. The members of the Committee consist of Grover Furr, Michael Heller, Jennifer Hunt, Matthew Pierce and Jack Samuels. They elected Jack Samuels as chair, and have sent out a Notice of Special Elections to the membership for the position of President.[Click here to Download]

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

State College Presidents' Lobbying Efforts

As a result of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals’ (Council) efforts, we now have a copy of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council’s document [click to download] which presents what they believe to be “unfunded mandates and areas of over-regulation across all sectors of higher education in New Jersey.” The New Jersey President's Council is the lobbying entity for the State College and University Presidents, of which Dr. Cole is a member. Here are some of the highlights that detail what Dr. Cole and her fellow Presidents are seeking:
  • State funding for mandated tuition-waiver programs. (Page 1)
  • The elimination of caps on tuition and fees in the annual State budget. (Page 1)
  • Control over health-care costs by “(a) revising the State Health Benefits Plans to make them more affordable; and (b) opening up competition by permitting management to substitute health or dental carriers if the primary coverage limits are substantially equal to existing coverage. Currently, management must negotiate a change in the health insurance carrier if the union asserts in any coverage element or claims processing procedure is not the same or better than the existing plan.” (Page 2)
  • At the end of the current Statewide Contract, if no successor agreement is reached, step increases will not be granted. This would include a suspension of longevity, promotional, and educational credit increments. (Page 3)
  • The elimination of our bargaining unit and designation of the “state colleges and universities as the employer of record of their employees.” (Page 3)
  • Changing the existing tenure procedures and thereby authorizing “the state colleges and universities to establish a probationary period for faculty consistent with the needs of the institution and national practice.” It is proposed that “[t]his can be accomplished by amending the provisions of the State and County College Tenure Act (N.J.S.A. 18A:60-8 through 18A:60-15) regarding tenure and career development, and expanding the authority of the institutions’ boards of trustees . . . to cover these matters under appropriate personnel policies.” (Page 3)

The Council’s President, Nicholas C. Yovnello, has written a response to this document. [click here to download]. The response points out that our bargaining unit has “existed for decades without any labor strife” and that wage increases have been modest, or there have been none at all. Most importantly the break up of our bargaining unit, the Locals that represent the Adjuncts, along with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and Local 195, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), would result in the need to negotiate 36 separate contracts (four bargaining units times nine institutions), and thus lead to “administrative chaos, strikes, destructive competition between institutions and the deterioration of working conditions.”
Also, the October 2007 State Commission of Investigation Report titled, Vulnerable to Abuse: The Importance of Restoring Accountability, Transparency and Oversight to Public Higher Education Governance and the July 5, 2010 Moody’s Investor Service Report both document the “excessive borrowing by the state colleges and universities, more State oversight, not less, is clearly in the public interest.”