Former Rutgers football Player Eric LeGrand Supporting Union In Video

Bergen Record
By Patricia Alex
September 18, 2014

Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand – paralyzed in a 2010 tackle during a game – is appearing in a video released on Thursday in support of unionized workers who are bargaining for new contracts with the university.

”I hope the university will do the right thing and get these hard-working men and women the fair pay and decent benefits they deserve and have earned,” LeGrand said in the 30-second clip on YouTube.

LeGrand has been an ambassador for the university since his injury, making numerous public appearances. He credited the dedicated faculty and staff for helping him graduate after the devastating injury prevented him from attending classes.

Watch the video here.

The video was released on the Facebook page of Reclaim Rutgers — a coalition of unions and others advocating for new contracts for more than 20,000 Rutgers employees ranging from faculty members to nurses at the university-run hospitals. The video is on You Tube and will be promoted to the Rutgers community in the coming weeks, said Joshua Henne, a spokesman for the union coalition.

Members of the coalition have leafleted at football games and other public events and plan to hold a rally before Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi delivers his “state of the university” address to the University Senate in New Brunswick Friday.

Union representatives noted that Rutgers last week granted Football Coach Kyle Flood a $3.4 million contract extension, ahead of his agreement running out, while many workers have been working without a raise and paying more for health care.

“This is a gross example of management's skewed priorities,” Deepa Kumar, associate professor of Journalism and Media Studies, said in a press release put out by the coalition.

Rutgers spokesman E.J. Miranda released a statement in response to the LeGrand video.

“Like Eric, Rutgers cares deeply about its employees and we are hard at work negotiating fair and reasonable contracts with many of the unions representing Rutgers employees,” the statement said.

He said Rutgers has “salary and benefit packages that are among the most competitive in the nation for public research universities,” and that the university was “entirely respectful of the collective bargaining process.”