Late Sunday evening, three unions representing Rutgers faculty announced the beginning of a labor strike. The labor organizations decided to go on strike after over 280 days without a new contract. Rutgers University is New Jersey’s largest public university with over 67,000 students. The Rutgers strike will halt classes, research and more at the university.
The Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, the AAUP-AFT and the AAUP-BHSNJ joined together on Sunday and voted to begin a strike. Together, the three unions represent full and part-time lecturers, graduate workers, counselors, postdoctoral associates and all faculty members.
In a letter released by AAUP-AFT, the union stated that by exercising their right to withhold their labor, it would be proven to the administration that without the workers, the university would crumble. This was sent in an email to University President Jonathan Holloway and other administration members on Sunday. This comes at a time when union organizing and labor consciousness is increasing across the country. By holding back their work, Rutgers faculty feels they will achieve their goal of a new contract that is fair for all.
Good Morning @RutgersU! Its day 284 w/o a contract but it is also DAY ONE ON STRIKE! We are moved & motivated by the huge show of action & support from members, students, coworkers and partners in the community. TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG & WE WILL WIN a #FairContractNow! #RUOnSTRIKE pic.twitter.com/8OPh4BfSrh
— Rutgers AAUP-AFT Academic Worker Union (@ruaaup) April 10, 2023
A spokesperson for the union stated: “The administration doesn’t understand that we are determined to fight together for equal pay, equal work, a living wage for all, real job security, race and gender equity, and a fair salary increase. We have no other choice than to go on strike to build a university that truly values its workers and its students.”
In the university’s 257-year history, it is the first time the Rutgers faculty as a whole has gone on strike and is the first strike at Rutgers since AFSCME workers at the university did so in 1987.
The administration expressed immediate concern about the strike. Holloway stated that he was deeply disappointed, going on to claim that faculty and administration agreed to the use of a mediator for future negotiations.
The organizers stated that they expect to receive backlash and intimidation from the administration. Holloway himself was quoted saying a Rutgers strike would be “unlawful” in a letter sent to students last month.
After the announcement on Sunday, Governor Phil Murphy called for both parties to meet with him and have a productive dialogue to achieve a beneficial outcome for all sides.
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
The Rutgers strike is expected to expedite the negotiation process. After 284 days without a contract, faculty felt labor withholdment was the logical next step. You can follow the developments of the situation here.
About the Author/s
Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for food writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey. He never stops learning and he's always in the weeds.