3 unions representing about 9,000 Rutgers University faculty and staff to begin historic strike over contract negotiations

(CNN) Three unions representing about 9,000 Rutgers University faculty and staff will go on strike Monday morning, the unions said, marking the first academic strike in the university’s nearly 257-year history after nearly a year of contract negotiations.

Members of the unions will picket at Rutgers’ three main campuses in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, New Jersey, to demand higher pay, improved job security for adjunct faculty and guaranteed funding for graduate students, union representatives said. A joint publication.

“Those closest to our university’s mission of learning and teaching, research and service deserve more than simply surviving and scraping by,” Rutgers master’s student Michelle O’Malley said in a virtual town hall Sunday night.

There are three trade unions Rutgers AAUP-AFT, which represents full-time faculty, graduate workers, postgraduate researchers and consultants; The Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, which refers to part-time lecturers; And AAUP-BHSNJIt refers to faculty who teach in the university’s clinical and public health facilities.

While union leaders expect the move to halt instruction and “uncritical research,” the university insists most classes will continue. Doctors at the university’s health facilities “will continue to perform patient care duties and important research while suspending volunteer work,” the unions’ release said.

In Guidelines are published In the event of a strike, the university advised students to continue attending classes and completing assignments as usual.

“To say this is deeply disappointing would be an understatement,” Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway said in a letter to the community. According to Holloway, the two sides agreed to appoint a mediator two days before the strike was announced.

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“For the past several weeks, negotiations have been steady and continuous,” the president said. “As I mentioned there has been significant and substantial progress, and I believe there are only a few outstanding issues. We will continue to negotiate as long as it takes to reach agreements and will not engage in personal attacks or misinformation.”

Union representatives, however, insist that the university has refused to meet their central demands.

“After sitting at the bargaining table for 10 months to win what we believe are fair and just things like fair wages, job security and access to affordable health care, we have no choice but to vote to strike,” said Amy Higer, a part-time lecturer at Rutgers and president of the Adjunct Faculty Union. said in a statement.

She continued, “We’ve heard administration say that a strike will hurt students. But do you know what really hurts students? Lower pay for teachers and higher turnover from having to reapply for their jobs every semester.”

Inside New Jersey Governor Bill Murphy A statement University and union bargaining team representatives met in his office on Monday to “have a constructive dialogue,” he said.

In addition to the three groups that announced the strike, nine other unions are demanding new contracts with the university, according to a union release.

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolff and Rebecca Rice contributed to this report.

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