Rutgers president agrees to neutrality
Months of intimidation for midlevel administrators seeking to form a union at Rutgers University came to an end on Jan. 26, when Rutgers University president Richard McCormick e-mailed over 3,000 employees to “clarify the University’s position on employees’ freedom to choose union representation.” “Rutgers employees should feel free to engage in the process of gaining union representation,” he wrote....In October, November and December of 2006, the university human resources department sent three anti-union e-mails to the employees, which had a “chilling effect,” says Nat Bender, a URA organizing committee member who works in the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers. The first one characterized union supporters as similar to “outside vendors or solicitors” who have “disrupted and interfered with your job duties and your work site, and have not respected your privacy at home.” Later e-mails promised employees they would get a better deal from the university without a union...
Julia Zapcic, director of development for the Rutgers Libraries, had an unnerving experience when she agreed to show her support for the union by providing a testimonial in a URA flier. The day after it came out, she recounted, “Someone commented, ‘it’s not in your job description to be a dissident.’ I was shocked.” But she held fast to her values.
At a rally held Jan. 31, Zapcic introduced Gov. Corzine, who came to campus to reinforce every employee’s right to fully evaluate the benefits of forming a union.