This email elaborates on our previous communication about the legality of strikes in New Jersey and what to expect if our unions are forced to call a strike.
As we explain in our Strike FAQ, the NJ Constitution and statutes are silent about whether strikes by public-sector workers are legal. In some instances, courts have issued injunctions against striking public employees. If we are forced to strike, President Holloway has stated that the administration will quickly petition a court for an injunction. Please be advised that if this happens, it would signal the start, and not the end, of a legal process. We will be in frequent contact with you to make sure your questions are answered. Please also keep in touch with your picket captains if we are on strike.
The last time there was a strike at Rutgers, President Edward J. Bloustein sought an injunction, but it was extremely limited in scope. In 1987, when AFSCME locals struck, the university went to court for an injunction, but not against the strike itself; the injunction sought lesser restrictions, such as controlling the locations of picket lines. We hope that President Holloway will not seek an injunction at all. However, if he does, we call on him to follow in the footsteps of President Bloustein. As a scholar of labor history, he should know not to act in any way that would prevent us from exercising the fundamental right of withholding our labor.
Our lawyers will oppose the granting of any injunction. If a judge should grant one, and we decide to continue the strike, the university would have to return to court to seek penalties for violation of the injunction. If an injunction is issued, it is possible that all of us will receive communications from the university, telling us to return to work. However, you should not be intimidated and should wait for guidance from union leadership about any legal actions.
This process could take several days. We don’t know and cannot guarantee the outcome of such a legal process. What we do know is that the university seems prepared to do its best to scare us into giving up our fundamental right to withhold our labor in pursuit of a fair and just contract. Unless you hear otherwise from union leadership, if we have started a strike, we will remain on strike throughout this process.
We will keep you updated at all times about all developments, as events unfold. There is great power in our collective voice, and we will not be intimidated.
Becky, Amy, and Cathy
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Amy Higer, President, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union
Dr. Catherine Monteleone, President, AAUP-BHSNJ
- We’re preparing to have strong, lively picket lines in the event of a strike, and that takes organizing ahead of time. Talk to any union member on your campus and ask them how to sign up for picket line shifts.
- On Saturday at 12–1 p.m., we’re holding Union Office Hours again for our students to “Ask Us Anything.” Share this Zoom registration link with your students, ask them to sign up, and join us yourself!
- Our unions have established a merged strike fund, named the Rutgers Strike & Solidarity Fund, with the goal of supporting members in the event of a strike. We hope those of you who can best afford to give will do so generously to support your colleagues. Click here to donate, and click here for an FAQ about the fund (see part 4!).
Rutgers AAUP-AFT Facebook page: https://facebook.com/RUaaup/
Follow us on Twitter @ruaaup and Instagram @rutgersaaup
Freedom School YouTubeChannel: https://rutgersaaup.org/YouTube
Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rutgersptlfc
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @ruaaup_ptl
Visit our redesigned website: https://rutgers-ptlfc.org/
AAUP-BHSNJ website: https://onerutgersfaculty.org/
AAUP-BHSNJ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RUaaupbhsnj