AFT Local #2375 – Representing Full-Time and Adjunct Faculty at Raritan Valley Community College, Somerville NJ
It was a long hard fight to get fair contracts, but we finally settled the full-time contract in December 2019 and the adjunct contract in April 2020.
The pandemic created unprecedented challenges in 2020. In March, we had to pivot quickly to a remote learning environment and find ways to help students successfully complete a very difficult semester. Not knowing if it would days, weeks, or months, we had to adapt to constantly changing conditions. Everyone stepped up, helping each other learn new ways to engage students, create community, and keep students moving forward under the most challenging of circumstances. I am always impressed by our ability to innovate and create solutions and opportunities.
As the pandemic started to unfold, the college updated its budget and forecasted a $1.5 million deficit. At that time, the college was making overly conservative estimates for fall enrollment, state funding, and emergency aid. To close the budget the gap, the college threatened layoffs. Wanting to save the jobs of our colleagues, especially during a pandemic, all three unions agreed to take 5 furlough days.
In October, full funding was been restored to the college, enrollment is better than budgeted, and the college has received significant relief funding. Almost a year later, we returned to campus with a new set of constraints that while necessary, continue to make our jobs harder. The Board has rewarded the President of the College with a 10% raise and a bonus that more than makes up for his lost furlough days.
We are gearing up for a new set of negotiations as our contract expires June 2022. I have asked the Board and college administration to approach negotiations with the respect we collectively deserve. However, if history is any indication, we need to prepare with a strong united front and fight hard for what is fair. The Federation will continue to advocate for our faculty and students as we all navigate the future.
It is a honor to work side by side with the talented, dedicated faculty of AFT Local #2375. Your hard work has made an incredible difference at RVCC. It is my privilege to be your President. I welcome your input and feedback. Thank you for all you do and continue to do, I hope to see everyone on campus soon!
Patti Kletz, President, AFT Local #2375