by Nayeli Ellen
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Rutgers University faces a historic faculty strike as 9,000 full- and part-time faculty members walk out, impacting 67,000 students. Following a year of unsuccessful bargaining on issues like pay raises and rights for untenured adjunct faculty and graduate workers, the strike has gained national attention.
According to a New York Times article, Rutgers University is experiencing a faculty strike for the first time in its 257-year history. The walkout involves 9,000 full- and part-time faculty members, impacting around 67,000 students throughout the state. After nearly a year of fruitless negotiations between union representatives and university officials, people decide to act up.
Rebecca Givan, the president of Rutgers A.A.U.P.-A.F.T., one of the three unions involved, stated that they aim for a transformative new contract, particularly for the lowest-paid and most vulnerable members. Union proposals included a significant raise and job security for adjunct professors, which Givan said the administration resisted the most.
With picket lines forming at Rutgers’s three main campuses, union and university representatives met in Trenton to negotiate, expressing hope for a productive outcome. In spite of the ongoing strike, the university remains dedicated to guaranteeing that the 67,000 students can maintain their academic advancement and that their progress toward graduation remains unaffected by the strike.
Union members, faculty, and students gathered to picket and defend the rights of graduate workers and adjunct faculty. Numerous graduate students employed by the university find themselves compelled to balance multiple jobs or depend on public assistance in order to cover their living expenses. The strike gained national attention, with lawmakers such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Frank Pallone Jr. expressing their support.
Some students, like junior Ethan Block, showed solidarity with the striking faculty members by not attending classes. Block emphasized the duty of the student body to support faculty members on strike, stating that achieving their goals would improve education for all Rutgers students.
Here’s a list of the main facts that should be known about this strike:
- Picket lines formed at Rutgers’s three main campuses in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.
- Union members and university officials met in Trenton, where Gov. Phil Murphy invited them to negotiate.
- The strike rapidly captured nationwide interest, as state and federal legislators voiced their backing for the cause.
- The university believes a strike by public sector workers is illegal in New Jersey, but the unions argue there is no law barring their strike.
- Earlier this year, a substantial 94 percent of union members cast their votes in support of the strike.
- University spokesperson Dory Devlin expressed optimism that a resolution could be reached quickly.
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