Monday, September 19, 2011

Wear Your Sneakers to Work on Wednesdays !

Solidarity Walks on Wednesdays

When: Every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. starting on September 21st
Where: Meet in front of Cafe Diem
What to Wear: Sneakers and an AFT t-shirt or a blue shirt

Join in the fun and unity as we take a lunchtime stroll around campus.

Want a free AFT t-shirt? Contact AFT Local 1904's office ext. 4453
to make arrangements to get one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kean University Employees Oppose Privatization

Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors

Below are some of the key findings from a study conducted by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). 
  • Federal government employees were less expensive than contractors in 33 of the 35 occupational classifications POGO reviewed.
  • In one instance, contractor billing rates were nearly 5 times more than the full compensation paid to federal employees performing comparable services.
  • Private sector compensation was lower than contractor billing rates in all 35 occupational classifications we reviewed.
To read the entire study, click here

Saturday, September 10, 2011

20th Annual Celebration of Labor

Officers from AFT Local 1904 participated in the 20th Annual Celebration of Labor, held on September 9, 2011, by walking in the Labor Day Parade sponsored by the Essex-West Hudson Labor Council. 

Pictured in the photo are, from left to right:
Rich Wolfson, President AFT Local 1904 Montclair State University; Leonard Luciano, Essex County District 4 Freeholder, and NTU Vice-President; Bill Sullivan, AFT Local 1904 External Vice-President; and Bob Russo, President, AFT Local 6025, MSU’s Adjunct Faculty Union.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Statement to MSU's Board of Trustees

Rich Wolfson, President of AFT Local 1904, addressed Montclair State University's Board of Trustees at its meeting on September 8, 2011. His complete statement is provided below.

I am happy to be speaking today at the beginning of the academic year and to the full board rather than to a subset through a speaker phone. Let me say that looking at you and standing here is much more satisfying and productive and I know that this year is going to bring great things to Montclair due to all of our efforts.

A few years ago, when I was the Senate President, Preston Pinkett asked me why the then Union President, Catherine Becker, was always angry and yelling at the Board. I said that the Local’s remarks were “theatre” and that the intended audience was much wider than just you, the members of the Board. And that the University community wanted assurance that you heard things from a perspective that you weren’t getting. As the current Local President, I still believe those statements. But, today, no yelling.

Let’s start by welcoming a new Board member, Michael Carter. His credentials suggest he’s a technology guy, and that kind of expertise is always welcome since more and more of what we do is digital. From one geek to another, I thank you for agreeing to serve and hope to get a chance to talk to you personally sometime about technology trends and all things digital. And Mr. LaRossa. Congratulations on your ascension to Chairperson of the Board. I know it will be both invigorating and challenging.

I have little to say about contracts at this time other than these two brief items. First, I’m happy the Finley project—now Schmitt Hall—is nearing completion, and delighted we’re doing our part to supplement our energy usage with a new solar array. Second, I’m looking forward to the day when we no longer have to pay SCT another dime to support our legacy systems and the migration to our new systems and the Bell Tower project is a distant memory.

Next, I want to thank you for continuing to hire faculty at this time of fiscal uncertainty. None of the faculty approved today are full-time tenured positions, but I hope that at least some of these lines become full-time positions, as the credentials of many of these individuals are impressive and they would be welcome additions to our staff. I also want to thank you for approving two new professors emeriti, Professors Mary Beth Henry and Cindy Onore. I have known both of them since they arrived here at Montclair. The attainment of emeriti status is an affirmation of an extraordinary and outstanding career of scholarship and service. I congratulate them both.

Finally, thanks to President Cole for the principled stand taken on Tuesday during her address to the community. It included a significant section about free speech, civility, and the role of the University in providing a forum for discourse. I don’t think you were there, and in case you haven’t read the speech, let me quote these passages:

“In its role as an institution of higher education, Montclair State supports free and open public discourse and unequivocally takes the position that the free exchange of ideas and opinions is essential to the education of our students…. The University does not censor speakers or presentations because some members of the community find them objectionable or even offensive.”

She then goes on to say:

“We must trust in the fundamental nature of the free university; we must trust that what we do every day, in our classrooms and beyond our classrooms, gives our students the intellectual resilience and critical acuity to deal with the falsehoods they will encounter all around them in their lives, here and elsewhere. If we find that we cannot trust in that, then the only remedy we have is to get better at what we do so that we can.”

These statements resonated with me and with the entire campus community, and I applaud Dr. Cole for taking that stand regarding free speech and assemblage, both central tenets for workers and the labor movement.

In closing I ask that you consider, as a Board, to take an official published position on free speech, freedom of assemblage, bullying, and workplace violence. A position that affirms Montclair State University as a place where ideas are important, where discourse is essential to the education we provide, and where the community is a safe environment, with everyone looking out for each other.

Thank you for you time. Next month we’ll get back to parking, negotiations, adherence to the contract, and the other issues more common to the remarks from the President of the Local.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Red Hawk Day

AFT Local 1904 reached out to students on Opening Day by participating in Red Hawk Day on September 6, 2011. The Local's Officers and our student intern, Alan Akins, staffed a table and we were able to share with students why their success matters to us and how we support them. Over 200 students were greeted in a two hour period.