July 08, 2020

Dear Rutgers Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that Rutgers University and Teamsters Local 97 have reached agreements that will help to address our current fiscal crisis while protecting jobs and securing salary increases and benefits. Teamsters Local 97 represents nearly 1,700 university employees in the clerical, paraprofessional, technical, service, and maintenance fields.

As you are aware, we have been working to explore ways in which to collaborate constructively to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on our campus community while avoiding layoffs. The agreements we are announcing today are the result of that hard work and is a credit to what can be accomplished when we focus on our important shared goals. The Local 97 committee of John J. Gerow, Amy Lewis, George Burr and Local 97's attorney, James Mets worked diligently with the University committee of David Cohen and Farrah Gold Henry from the University’s Office of General Counsel, and Harry Agnostak and Abdel Kanan from the University’s Office of Labor Relations to protect the economic benefits of the Local 97 contract with the University.

The first agreement, which is subject to approval by the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) provides for a shared work program in lieu of layoffs for 91 employees in IPO Environmental Services Newark, IPO Environmental Services New Brunswick, and IPO Material and Logistical Services. Layoff letters issued to the employees participating in the program will be rescinded. The shared work program shall run through December 31, 2020, except that employees participating shall be returned to full employment as soon as practical as campuses are populated with student, faculty, and staff.

The second agreement, which is subject to ratification by union membership, extends the existing contract between Local 97 and the University through June 30, 2023. That agreement provides for a ten day Shared Work Furlough Program across fiscal year 2021 (also subject to NJDOL approval) and a deferral of both the FY2021 and FY2022 contractual salary increases (3.0% and 2.5%, respectively) in exchange for a guarantee from the University that it would not invoke the “subject to” language for the remainder of the contract. The “subject to” language allows contractual increases to be withheld by the University.

We would like to thank the members of the Teamsters Local 97 negotiating team and the Rutgers negotiating team for their hard work and efforts in reaching these tentative agreements.

Sincerely,

John Gerow
President Teamsters Local 97

Vivian Fernández
Senior Vice President Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness