After a year of unsuccessful negotiations between Rutgers University and its faculty regarding salary increases to compensate for inflation, a vote on Sunday approved a labor action, which is expected to lead to the faculty of the 257-year-old institution striking for the first time in the university's history. Strikes are anticipated at all 3 of the school's campuses - New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark with both faculty and postdoctoral students expected to participate.
According to Rebecca Givan, President of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, "We have bargained and bargained and bargained and bargained and bargained, and we are not getting anywhere, and we need to do something more. We will take this momentous step."
The union, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, represents 8,000 workers over the school's 3 campuses. The union and workers failed to reach an agreement with the university administration for a new contract that would provide job security, increase pay, and implement race and gender equality initiatives, among other necessary needs.
"It's not for lack of trying that we now have to have a strike," noted Catherine Monteleone, a professor of medicine and the president of AAUP-BHSNJ.
Rutgers President, Jonathan Holloway, released a statement on Sunday and called the labor action "deeply disappointing." Holloway confirmed that a mediator had been appointed to assist with negotiations and hopefully, help both parties reach a deal in the near future.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, tweeted that the university's administration and faculty are set to meet with him for "productive dialogue."
The school was quick to emphasize that "More than 67,000 students are unaffected by the strike and may continue their academic progress."
Social media posts were quick to appear regarding the strike.
Rutgers is not the first university in the U.S. in recent months to see its faculty or staff strike amid union negotiations. According to a labor action tracker from Cornell University, labor action strikes at academic institutions across the nation seem to be on the rise.
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