The American Association of University Professors Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey (AAUP-BHSNJ), the union representing 1,400 faculty at Rutgers University’s Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), has launched a public campaign to remedy pay inequities and reform policies that harm students, staff, and patients alike.
The union said that Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, the academic medical arm of Rutgers, plays an important role in New Jersey and that its clinicians take care of some of the sickest and most vulnerable patients in the state.
In addition, the union said that the faculty teaches the next generation of professionals, many of who stay in the state after graduation and that its researchers have brought Rutgers increased distinction since the UMNDJ-Rutgers merger in 2013.
AAUP-BHSNJ Executive Director Diomedes Tsitouras said that Rutgers clinicians are habitually over-worked and under-supported and that they deserve better.
“Increased workload creates expectations to see more patients than time permits and this will only get worse if there are unrealistic quotas, as proposed, for the number of clinics a faculty member must complete per week,” said Tsitouras.
Tsitouras told NJBIZ the purpose of the public campaign is two-fold.
“One is to remedy equity pay disparities at RBHS based on gender that is the main them of our contract campaign. The second one is to pressure the administration to reform its practices, not just how it affects faculty but how it effects students as well.”
Tsitouras said that it is the union’s effort to create a public campaign around that idea.
“Our labor contract is a part of that. But we really see it as part of the entire RBHS community and how supporting our faculty is a part of this format. That is what we are doing with this campaign sending a message that brings more people in.”
According to Tsitouras, Rutgers’s priorities are misplaced and it needs to invest in students and patients, not only in administrators.
“The campaign will include a variety of highly visible public advertising to call on students, patients and the community to make their voices heard and help reform Rutgers,” said Tsitouras.
In response, a Rutgers spokesperson told NJBIZ that over the past six years, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences has been very successful in attracting faculty members to join its schools and institutes from across the country.
In addition, the spokesperson said that Rutgers has worked diligently to provide numerous opportunities for current faculty to flourish.
The Rutgers philosophy, the spokesperson said, is to advocate for the best interests of its faculty at large.
This philosophy has improved the university broadly resulting in boosted research funding, better students and a greater national appreciation of our academic reputation, according to the spokesperson.
Rutgers is open to considering any proposal but will only enact those that holistically benefit our students, faculty, staff, and patients, the spokesperson said.