After a year of layoffs, cuts and austerity, the faculty and staff of four unions at Rutgers University have voted in support of an unusual and pioneering agreement to protect jobs and guarantee raises after the school declared a fiscal emergency as a result of the pandemic. A key part of the deal is an agreement by the professors to do “work share” and take a slight cut in hours for a few months in order to save the jobs of other lower-paid workers. “The historic nature of this agreement is that it encompasses all four unions,” says Christine O’Connell, president of the union representing Rutgers administrators. “This agreement protects jobs.” We also speak with Todd Wolfson, president of the Rutgers Union of graduate workers, faculty and postdocs, who says the unions’ core demand was stopping further layoffs. “That core demand was met, and there’s no layoffs through the calendar year and into next year.”
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