As the second day of the faculty strike continues, Rutgers University President said he will not rule out legal action to try to stop it.
Rutgers has claimed that the strike is “illegal,” arguing that public employees in New Jersey cannot go on strike. However, the unions representing the striking faculty members say there is no such law barring them from going on strike.
“Obviously, if there is no movement towards an agreement, we will have no choice but to take legal action to assure the continued academic progress of our students and prevent irreparable harm,” Holloway wrote in a statement. “This is especially important for the thousands of students who are finishing their academic careers at Rutgers and are only a few weeks away from earning their degrees.”
However, Holloway did say that Governor Murphy personally asked him to delay going to the courts, and he has so far honored the request.
“The governor asked me personally to delay taking legal action asking the courts to order strikers back to work. I agreed to the governor’s important request while it appears that progress can be made,” said Holloway.
Three unions representing nearly 9,000 Rutgers University staff and faculty from its three main campuses still have not come to a contract agreement after nearly a year of stalled negotiations. According to the unions, this is the first educator strike in the University’s 257-year history.
As of Monday night, negotiations in the Governor’s office stalled once again, and the Rutgers AAUP-AFT President Rebecca Givan said the union did not receive or exchange any offers.
“Sadly, just when Governor Murphy had called on our unions and the Rutgers administration to come to Trenton to negotiate, President Holloway has again resorted to union-busting tactics and threats,” Givan said Tuesday morning.
In early March, at the time of the strike authorization vote, Vice President of Rutgers AAUP-AFT Union Todd Wolfson appeared on the NJ Morning Show.
“We really want to get a fair contract in this moment of really high inflation and we’ve been bargaining for a really long time and have been working without a contract since July 1st,” he said.
One of the main issues the unions have been fighting for is equal pay for the University’s near 2500 adjunct professors. The unions are also is seeking salary increases and funding for graduate students.
While Wolfson said the goal was to avoid a strike, he also said, “We want the University to see how serious we are about this, come to the table and help negotiate a fair contract.”