It comes after three unions representing nearly 9,000 Rutgers University staff and faculty from its three main campuses could not come to an 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.
According to the University website, “The University is open and operating,” but students were still directed to the course management website to see if their particular class would be in session.
“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,” said the University in a statement.
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.”
Late Sunday night, Governor Murphy put out a social media plea to both union leaders and Rutgers management to meet in his office Monday morning to see if a deal could be made.
“What we want to do is take Spring Break and maybe just bargain around the clock and figure this out with the administration. We’re trying to give everyone a big window to figure this out,” Wolfson said last month.
It is unclear how long the strike will last.