JERSEY CITY, N.J. | Dr. Barbara Hildner, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 1839 President at New Jersey City University (NJCU) and an NJCU English Professor since 1972 and Dr. William Calathes, Chief Negotiator of AFT Local 1839 and Professor of Criminal Justice at NJCU since September 1987, have each been named to the ROI Influencers Union Leaders list for 2023 by ROI-NJ, a statewide leading business publication.
Hildner and Calathes were recognized in the Union Leaders — Non-Building Trades category. It is the first time they have been honored on the statewide ROI Influencers list since ROI-NJ began honoring labor leaders in 2022.
NJCU Interim President Andrés Acebo, who himself has been named three times this year as an ROI Influencer, in the 2023 Super 60 Power List, 2023 ROI Influencers Power List for Higher Education, and ROI Influencers: People of Color 2023, applauded the selections of Hildner and Calathes, noting on Linkedin “Thank you ROI-NJ for recognizing our extraordinary AFT Local 1839 leaders. Between our early mornings and late nights that often blurred into one another, my friends and partners in organized labor worked tirelessly to champion and strengthen our institution’s mission and the students and communities we get to serve together.”
“Our university is stronger because of our dedicated labor unions and the great faculty and staff they represent,” Acebo continued. “Our campus came together to clear a path forward that emboldens our mission and commitment to drive student success in our community.”
Calathes, who served as AFT Local 1839 President before becoming the unit’s chief negotiator, said: “On behalf of the hard-working members of AFT Local 1839 and our students, I am graciously appreciative of this recognition. I am grateful to our President [Andrés Acebo], and our entire administration for this recognition and I also want to honor the many sacrifices our membership has made in the labor/management cooperative spirit that now characterizes our shared commitment to revitalize and sustain our beloved NJCU and its hallowed mission to educate our students.”
Hildner and Calathes were recognized for their leadership, working with President Acebo and other senior administrators during the university’s financial emergency, on plans that were fair to union members and students, to help propel the institution forward on its road to recovery.
Most notably was a historic memorandum of understanding between NJCU's administration and faculty that was announced on April 11, that strengthened shared governance, good faith labor relations, and collective responsibility for student success. Among the accomplishments of the MOU, it encourages collaboration between the people who run the campus and those who teach there.
The collaboration between Hildner and Calathes and the AFT Local 1839 unit alongside the administration was chronicled on April 17 when NJ Spotlight News and PBS visited campus for a feature story entitled “Collaborating to turn things around at New Jersey City University.”
ROI-NJ debuted its various Influencers lists in 2018, which have expanded to include other critical sectors including higher education and labor. Created by Prospect Publishing Group and led by longtime industry leaders Tom Bergeron and Tom Hughes; ROI-NJ delivers real-time news and features that provide New Jersey’s diverse business community with a Return On Information, while creating dynamic engagements among influencers.
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.
Ira Thor, Associate Vice President for University Communications (interim) | firstname.lastname@example.org | 201-200-3301