The union representing faculty and adjunct staff at Raritan Valley Community College held a rally and spoke at the board of trustees meeting Tuesday night in hopes of demonstrating the need to complete the contract negotiations that started this spring.
The American Federation of Teachers Local 2375, which represents more than 400 educators at the school, also issued a press release asking the college’s administration to sit down for “good faith” bargaining.
“The difficulty is economics,” said Local 2375 President Maria DeFillipis. “There seemed to be a line drawn in the sand.”
“In the past, I think there’s always been collegiality, cooperation, compromise — we don’t get that sense this time around,” DeFillipis said. “The members of my negotiating team are a group of people who believe there is real power in cooperation, and the only progress you can ever make, especially in a democracy, is through compromise.”
“Raritan Valley Community College deeply values the work of its faculty and staff and understands the challenges of the current financial climate. However, the College cannot comment on current contract negations,” the school responded in a statement.
DeFillipis, an attorney and faculty member for 20 years, said the school was proposing a two-year contract, instead of a “typical” three-year contract, that includes a year with no salary increases. As public employees, the staff has been working since June without a contract, and is subject to the increase in health benefits contributions passed by the Legislature.
“We are not that far apart,” DeFillipis said. “I have a sense we could reach an agreement before the end of this semester … we’re hoping we won’t reach impasse.”