For the first time in its 257-year history, academic workers at Rutgers University, including faculty and postdoctoral associates, intend to strike at the institution's three campuses – New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark. This decision comes after a Sunday vote approving the labor action, following almost a year of unsuccessful negotiations with the university to raise salaries in line with inflation.
"We have bargained and bargained and bargained and bargained and bargained, and we are not getting anywhere, and we need to do something more," said Rebecca Givan, president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT. "We will take this momentous step."
Rutgers AAUP-AFT represents 8,000 workers across the three campuses that failed to agree with the school administration for a new contract that would boost pay, provide job security, and implement race and gender equity initiatives, among other demands.
"It's not for lack of trying that we now have to have a strike," said Catherine Monteleone, a professor of medicine and the president of AAUP-BHSNJ.
On Sunday, the university's president, Jonathan Holloway, released a statement calling the labor action "deeply disappointing." He said a mediator was appointed to help both sides reach a deal as soon as possible.
Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted that both sides are expected to meet with him today for "productive dialogue."
Rutgers University is one of the nation’s premier institutions of higher learning. I am calling the University and union bargaining committees to meet in my office tomorrow to have a productive dialogue. pic.twitter.com/KTDmpm3LKD— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 10, 2023
Rutgers stressed, "More than 67,000 students are unaffected by the strike and may continue their academic progress."
Looks like the 'woke' academic workers are hitting the streets of the university.
Rutgers On Strike. pic.twitter.com/UkJHAvqv82— Colm Atkins in On Strike (@_colm_) April 10, 2023
The decision by Rutgers unions to strike comes as a rising trend of labor actions at US universities, according to a labor action tracker from Cornell University.