NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Bargaining between three striking unions and the Rutgers University administration continued in the state capital of Trenton as a strike by Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, and AAUP-BHSNJ entered a fifth day on Friday. Union leaders said there has been progress in negotiations, but important issues need to be resolved.
Yesterday, the unions and the administration reached a tentative agreement on one core proposal that union leaders said would be transformative at Rutgers. Non-tenured full-time professors, who currently must be reappointed at the end of their contracts with the university, will become eligible for “presumptive renewal,” meaning they won’t have to reapply.
“This is game-changing for faculty members who haven’t had the protection of tenure,” said Rutgers AAUP-AFT President Rebecca Givan. “We’ve taken an important step toward confronting the precarity faced by over 70 percent of the educators, researchers, and clinicians at Rutgers. Now the administration needs to finish the job by assuring adjunct faculty that they, too, will have real job security and won’t have to reapply every semester.”
Givan said she was hopeful the two sides were closer to an agreement, but issues that are critical goals for union members remain unresolved. “We’ve already accomplished more in a few days than we did in months, thanks to Governor Murphy’s invitation for us to bargain in Trenton and the strength of our members on the picket line,” Givan said. “But hard issues remain, and we have some distance to go before we have a contract.”
An all-day bargaining session is taking place today, and negotiations are expected to continue over the weekend.
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