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Remembering Carolyn Foote

Carolyn Foote
Carolyn Foote

A founding member of the Union of Rutgers Administrators‐AFT union at Rutgers University, Carolyn Foote died Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Newark, New Jersey. Hundreds of family members, colleagues from Rutgers, the union and community gathered the following Friday to celebrate the impact of her too brief 67 years.

Family members told stories about her role as a matriarch and positive influence on their lives. URAAFT Executive Vice President Darlene Smith talked about her travels with Foote to union conferences and conventions.

Foote worked at Rutgers University‐Newark in the John Cotton Dana Library for 30 years, the majority of that time as a Library Associate assigned to the Inter‐Library Loan Department, identifying, locating and retrieving works for research projects.

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Foote and Dorothy Grauer (right)

Union members will always remember Foote’s friendship and collaboration with Dorothy Grauer, with whom she shared an office for the entirety of her 30 years at Rutgers. Foote and Grauer would finish one another’s sentences and laugh, making references to one another’s family members and colleagues from throughout the campus and broader Newark community. They often traveled together around campus or to meetings in New Brunswick.

The two joined the organizing effort on campus in 2006 and once URA was recognized, steadfastly assumed (sometimes alternating) roles as lead stewards, campus vice presidents and executive board members of their local, as well as delegates to their state and national unions.

Foote led in a quiet, dignified manner. She was not a big talker in meetings, not someone who sought the spotlight or spent time promoting her own achievements.

Since the union’s recognition in 2007, Foote handled many grievances on the Newark campus, according to union director Greg Rusciano. He said that local members will miss having her as a dependable, capable, staunch advocate. Fortunately, the campus enjoys a strong steward structure and one former steward even remarked that she would have to get back to steward duties to try to fill some of the gap of Foote’s absence.

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Foote and Kathy Licinski (right)

Foote volunteered for many of the union’s political activities, including phone banks and home visits during political campaigns to elect the nation’s first African‐American President, and progressive candidates like New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

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Foote at Occupy Wall Street Labor March

Foote represented the union in delegations to Occupy Wall Street to demand economic justice in the movement that declared: “We are the 99%” and decried the excesses of Wall Street millionaires and billionaires.

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Foote at Newark rally against police brutality

She lead the union’s Civil Rights Committee participating in protests and rallies calling for justice for murdered African‐American teen Trayvon Martin, a “million‐person march against police brutality” in Newark with the People’s Organization for Progress the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March in Washington DC for jobs, peace and freedom.

See Carolyn Foote Obituary »

Fair Contract Now!

Rutgers has hundreds of millions in unrestricted reserves that could go to make tuition affordable, pay raises and make the university a better place for everyone. Join URAAFT and the Coalition of Rutgers Unions in calling for fairness at Rutgers.

Contract, tuition, wage rally at Rutgers

By Susan Loyer, Home News

NEW BRUNSWICK — More than 400 Rutgers University faculty, staff and students rallied outside the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting Tuesday, while dozens more inside petitioned the governing body directly in hopes of securing fair union contracts, a freeze on tuition and a $15‐per‐hour minimum wage on campus.

Student groups and members of 23 unions representing more than 20,000 Rutgers workers, whose contracts expire June 30, organized the protest, Anthropology professor David Hughes, vice president of the Rutgers AAUPAFT faculty union, said in a statement.

Our students deserve more opportunities for education without incurring debt, while Rutgers workers deserve real raises and security that the university can amply afford,” Hughes said. “We are committed to public education as a right and call this a ‘fight for a Rutgers we deserve.’”

[…]

Lucye Millerand, President of the Rutgers administrative staff union (URAAFT local 1766), is concerned that Rutgers management fails to include campus stakeholders in planning resulting in massive waste due to misplaced priorities. “Rutgers management is spending tens of millions on failed ventures like Big Ten football and a poorly executed Cornerstone financial technology system.” Meanwhile, she said workers in her 2,500-member union are taking home less pay than eight years ago.

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