Deal to Allow Classes to Resume at Rutgers

Faculty unions say they'll walk out again if final agreement isn't reached
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 10, 2023 12:17 PM CDT
Updated Apr 15, 2023 2:00 PM CDT
Rutgers Faculty Strike for 1st Time in 257 Years
Professors, part-time lecturers, and graduate students strike at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, on Monday, April 10, 2023.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
UPDATE Apr 15, 2023 2:00 PM CDT

The outlines of new contracts with several faculty unions have been reached that will let classes resume, Rutgers University announced Saturday. The rough agreement on economic issues was achieved with the intervention of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the university said, though there's nothing for union members to vote on yet, the AP reports. The unions said their strike is not yet canceled. "If we do not secure the gains we need on the open issues through bargaining in the coming days, we can and will resume our work stoppage," a statement said.

Apr 10, 2023 12:17 PM CDT

Thousands of professors, part-time lecturers, and graduate student workers at New Jersey's flagship university went on strike Monday—the first such job action in the school's 257-year history. Classes were still being held at Rutgers as picket lines were set up at the school's campuses in New Brunswick/Piscataway, Newark, and Camden, though students said some had been canceled due to the strike, the AP reports. Union officials decided Sunday night to go on strike, citing a stalemate in contract talks that have been ongoing since July. Faculty members voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike last month.

Three unions, which represent about 9,000 Rutgers staff members, are involved in the strike: the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, which represents full-time faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates and some counselors; the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, which represents part-time lecturers; and the AAUP-BHSNJ, which includes faculty in the biomedical and health sciences at Rutgers’ medical, dental, nursing, and public health schools. Union leaders said faculty members at the medical and other health sciences schools would continue performing essential research and patient care, but would curtail duties that don't impact patient health and safety. Officials said negotiations would continue Monday

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Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said Sunday that he believed the two sides were close to an agreement. Union officials, though, said an agreement didn't appear near. "To say that this is deeply disappointing would be an understatement," Holloway said. Union leaders say they are demanding salary increases, better job security for adjunct faculty, and guaranteed funding for grad students, among other requests. Holloway has said the university has offered to increase salaries for full-time faculty members, teaching assistants and graduate assistants by 12% by 2025.

(More Rutgers stories.)

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