Rutgers University faculty members are striking.

Rutgers University faculty Strike

At Rutgers University, the public university of New Jersey, three faculty unions representing over 9,000 employees went on strike on Monday.

The strike was announced on Sunday by the three unions that represent the affected faculty: the AAUP-AFT, which represents full-time faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates, and counsellors; the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, which represents part-time lecturers; and the AAUP-BHSNJ, which represents faculty in the health and sciences departments.

According to WHYY, this is the first strike by faculty at Rutgers University in the institution’s 250-year history.

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The unions said that the institution had been resisting their attempts to renegotiate a contract for at least a year.

The unions said that the administration was unaware of their resolve to work together to achieve fair pay increases, living wages for all, racial and gender justice, and equal pay for equal labour. “To create a university that truly values its workers and students, we have no choice but to go on strike.”

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway expressed his disappointment with the unions’ decision to strike in an email sent to the institution late on Sunday.

To say this is very disappointing would be an understatement, especially in light of the fact that both parties had in good faith agreed just two days before to the mediator’s appointment to assist in reaching agreements, he added.

Holloway said that there had been “significant and substantial progress” in the negotiations between the administration and the unions, and that he thought there were “only a few outstanding issues.”

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Last month, Holloway stated he hoped “the courts would not have to be called upon to halt to an unlawful strike” and suggested that a walkout by public employees would be “unlawful.”

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey summoned both parties

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey summoned both parties to his office in Trenton on Sunday to begin talks to resolve the standoff.

Murphy said in a tweet that Rutgers University is one of the best colleges in the country. In order to have a fruitful conversation, I’m inviting the university and union bargaining committees to a meeting in my office tomorrow.

Todd Wolfson, general vice president of the AAUP-AFT at Rutgers, told NPR that the talks were scheduled to start on Monday afternoon.

All three Rutgers campuses—in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden—had scheduled strike activities. The institution warned students that the strike might cause disruptions to their classes.
The unions said that it was the university’s first walkout since the clerical, dining hall, technical, and maintenance staff members left in 1987 when contract negotiations failed.

With almost 67,000 undergraduate students, Rutgers is New Jersey’s biggest public institution.

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Rutgers University threatens legal action

In response to a potential strike, Holloway wrote in a letter to management this week that they would be “forced to take every legal step to ensure that any job action does not affect our students’ academic progress.”

Rutgers stated in its published strike instructions for academics, staff, and students that it would think about requesting a court injunction to compel a return to class and work.

On the picket line outside Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx neighbourhood of New York City, New York, the United States, on January 9, 2023, union nurses from the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) yell slogans.
There’s a problem in healthcare. The nurses’ strike in New York is the most recent example.

The guidelines stated that the institution

The guidelines stated that the institution “may resort to litigation to preserve university operations and protect our students, patients, and staff from disruptions to their educational, clinical, and employment environments.”

The university and the union are at conflict over whether the strike is lawful because Rutgers has informed its employees that taking part in the action as public employees would be against the law.

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The unions refuted the university’s assertion, writing in a statement to participants concerning their “right to strike,” “The NJ Constitution and statutes are quiet about whether strikes by public-sector workers are legal. Courts have on occasion imposed injunctions prohibiting strikes by public employees.

The unions claimed that if Rutgers administration do ask a court for an injunction, “It would signal

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