The postdocs and graduate assistants at New Jersey Institute of Technology have joined forces to form a union, the state’s second representing postdocs. On May 6, the United Council of Academics at NJIT (UCAN), which represents both groups, filed for certification with the state Public Employees Relations Commission. “We teach your classes. We work in your labs. We contribute valuable research to projects across the university. We are the academic workers of NJIT, and we deserve to be treated as the professionals we are,” says UCAN’s mission statement.
Affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO-affiliated national union that last summer also organized the postdocs on the three campuses of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, UCAN claims on its Web site to have support from a “truly overwhelming majority” of the 450 postdocs and graduate employees at NJIT, which adjoins the Rutgers-Newark campus in the city’s University Heights section. Rutgers union colleagues are in fact invited to the celebration UCAN has planned for Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, negations on a first contract continue between the Rutgers union and the university.