By Thomas Albano
Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) held a meeting on Sept. 21 where it was determined the union would need more time to consider administrative demands to help make up for the enrollment shortfall and plan for upcoming fiscal years.
The administration has asked for a wage freeze and pension plan cuts from two unions: the AAUP — composed of faculty members including full-time professors, adjuncts, coaches, athletics trainers, librarians and reading specialist — and the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which is composed of clerical workers.
While the AAUP has not come to terms with the administration’s demands yet, Rider’s chapter of the AFSCME has agreed to the terms, according to Julie Karns, the vice president for finance and treasurer.
Lynn Rugg and Victoria McLaughlin, co-presidents of Rider’s chapter of AFSCME, issued a statement saying, “We struggled with the final proposal we presented to our members for ratification. It is not what we were expecting, but in reality, it was the best proposal administration was calling the ‘final offer.’ Please realize that there is more to negotiations than the wage freeze and 5 percent pension plan. Language is vital to our contract and we concentrated and dedicated many hours on this section.”
Karns said,“We’re in the process right now of doing a first-round update forecast for this financial year and the two subsequent years. We’ll do a second update to that probably in early October so that we’re prepared for the end-of-month Board of Trustees meetings. We’ve provided a significant amount of material to the AAUP to help them. I think it would be really nice if, as a community of faculty and staff, we were all contributing to offsetting the enrollment decline and the impacts of that.”
However, according to Dr. Bryan Spiegelberg, president of Rider’s AAUP chapter the information was delivered too late for a decision.
“They did give us a significant amount of information recently and we’re still processing that,” Spiegelberg said. “We’re working on it with outside consultants.”