The faculty union at Rutgers University is poised to strike, saying members have worked long enough without a contract and the administration is not coming close to meeting its terms. If teachers walk off the job, it would be the first faculty strike in the university’s 235-year history.
Rutgers AAUP-AFT is seeking salary increases, including pay equity for adjunct faculty, female professors, and faculty at the Newark and Camden campuses. Among other concerns, the union also wants the university to hire more full-time faculty to lower student-teacher ratios and improve its sabbatical policy and disability leave.
Union officials say they saw little progress in negotiations with Rutgers until 88 percent of members voted to authorize a strike, if necessary. Increasing faculty diversity is one of the union’s demands and, recently, the university announced it would spend $20 million on efforts to hire, mentor, and retain diverse faculty.
The union contends Rutgers has enough money for pay increases, citing an average $50 million surplus and $193 million in subsidies to athletic programs since 2012 — among other sources of funds.
A walkout by the 4,800 full-time faculty and graduate assistants, 3,000 part-time lecturers, and others represented by the AAUP-AFT would halt classes for some 70,000 undergraduate and graduate students on the state university’s campuses just as the semester is winding down. The union says it would be the first strike by tenured faculty at a Big 10 university.
Rutgers has more than 500,000 alumni living across the globe. Many thousands live in New Jersey and remain devoted to their alma mater.
# What do you think about a possible strike?