AFT Local #2375 – Representing Full-Time and Adjunct Faculty at Raritan Valley Community College, Somerville NJ
In March 2020, the pandemic required a quick pivot to a remote learning and working environment. As the pandemic started to unfold, RVCC updated its budget and forecasted a $1.5 million deficit. At that time, the college didn’t know what fall enrollment would be. The college didn’t know how much state funding it would receive for FY21 and the college didn’t know how much emergency aid it would receive to address lost revenue.
When faced with the threat of layoffs as a result of the pandemic, all three unions at RVCC agreed to take 5 furlough days. We did this to save the jobs of our colleagues and help the college. It was a shared sacrifice for all full-time employees; we were in it together. Furlough Days began being deducted from employee paychecks starting in July 2020.
As time unfolded, state funding was restored and significant relief funding made its way to the college. We didn’t mind making a financial sacrifice to save our colleagues jobs and help the college, but our agreement was meant to close a $1.5 million budget deficit. That budget deficit was addressed through state appropriations, relief funding and better than budgeted enrollment numbers.
The college was in a position to make employees whole. The unions continued to keep the issue alive and justify the return of furlough days as an allowable use of American Rescue Funds, a use in accordance for which the funds were originally intended. The 5 furlough days were returned in our January 31, 2022 paychecks. With the inflation we are all feeling, getting our pay restored was desperately needed! The unions working together got the furlough days returned; to the benefit of every employee at the college.