Faculty Strikes At Flagship University, Disrupting Classes For Thousands


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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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Three unions at Rutgers University began the first strike in the university’s 257-year history on Monday morning amid contract disagreements, The New York Times reported.

The unions represent nearly 9,000 full and part-time faculty members who are being urged to refrain from teaching, conducting research or performing any duties until a contract is settled, the Times reported. The faculty will picket at three Rutgers campuses including in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden, according to the unions’ Sunday announcement. (RELATED: University Pulls Tuition, Health Care Benefits From Striking Students)

The university assured that its “number one priority” is to ensure that the strike does not interfere with students’ academics, according to its website.

“Notwithstanding the action by the union leadership, the university is committed to ensuring that our more than 67,000 students are unaffected by the strike and may continue their academic progress,” the website reads. “We are working hard to reach fair and reasonable agreements with our unions, but no matter the outcome of the labor negotiations, the wellbeing of all Rutgers students will remain our top priority.”

Classes may continue to meet during the strike and students are encouraged to continue to complete assignments and meet with their instructor for more information about specific courses, according to the website.

The strike comes on the heels of nearly a year of negotiations between union representatives and university officials, according to the Rutgers AAUP-AFT Academic Worker Union Twitter. The conflict regards compensation, benefits and other employment conditions, according to a Sunday message from University President Jonathan Holloway.

“The administration doesn’t understand that we are determined to fight together for equal pay for equal work, a living wage for all, real job security, race and gender equity, and a fair salary increase,” the unions’ announcement read. “We have no other choice than to go on strike to build a university that truly values its workers and its students.”

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy invited university and union representatives to his office on Monday “to have a productive dialogue,” according to a Sunday Twitter statement.

“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,” he said. “The world-class educators, students, and staff of Rutgers University have my word that these parties will negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that is fair for all parties.”

Rutgers University and Rutgers AAUP-AFT  did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. Murphy’s officer referred the DCNF to the tweet.

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