AFT Local 1839, the New Jersey City University teachers union, is working with management to keep the doors open, also calling on state leaders for help.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Local 1839, as a strong union, will always fight to defend the interests of its members. We often disagree with management, which is the nature of the labor employment relationship. However, currently, we fully acknowledge and declare that NJCU is indispensable to our community, and we now stand in a working partnership with NJCU’s management,” the group said in a statement this morning.
“We recognize the many sacrifices the university has already made. It’s additional willingness to take on the challenges of shared sacrifice through active and good-faith negotiations will contribute to sustaining the critical mission of NJCU, which is to serve the exceptional group of students that need us most.”
They also referred to NJCU as “a springboard for class mobility for 92 years” and acknowledge “ill conceived” management decisions have likely led to their current financial woes, though continued that NJCU has the lowest net funding in relation to peer institutions.
Additionally, they called unspecified press reports about the university’s finances have been inaccurate and/or out of context, further stating that the information not come from union leadership.
AFT Local 1839 also asked Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and the state legislature to ensure NJCU’s mission continues at least another 92 years, though did not get into the specifics of what they were asking.
A call and text message to union leadership seeking additional details were not immediately returned.
The NJCU Board of Trustees accepted President Dr. Sue Henderson’s resignation at the end of June as the university admitting financial struggles and sought $10 million from the state.
Last month, Murphy and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop called on the state comptroller to investigate NJCU’s finances and operations and Acting Comptroller Kevin Walsh has since said his office plans to look into the matter.
“According to news reports, the University went from an approximately $108 million surplus in 2014, to an approximately $67.4 million deficit – with $156 million in debt – today,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Walsh at the time.
“These figures, if true, are deeply troubling, and require an immediate, independent investigation to understand how the financial situation deteriorated so rapidly over an eight-year period.”