Last week, we responded to President Holloway’s misleading “update” on labor negotiations that misinformed the entire Rutgers community about our efforts to win a fair contract and our right to withhold our labor. On Friday, the University Senate—which represents undergraduates, alumni, staff, grad workers, faculty, and members of the administration—agreed.
By an overwhelming 70–11 vote, the Senate passed a resolution criticizing President Holloway for telling students a strike would be “illegal” and calling on him to state that there would be no retaliation taken against students, staff, or faculty for refusing to cross a picket line. The resolution also asked all of us to sign a No Retaliation Statement; we encourage you to take the Senate pledge by clicking here.
President Holloway’s scare tactics have clearly backfired, including among our students, who reacted to the message on Reddit with suspicion. But while we were able to write to everyone represented by our unions about President Holloway’s misinformation, the administration denies us the opportunity to set the record straight with our students. So we encourage you to post this message to students on Canvas; feel free to edit it. We should say this over and over: if we have to strike, it will be against the university, not our students!
We’ll leave you with the incisive analysis of our retired (and much-missed!) colleague Jim Pope, Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, who laid out the facts in a message some of you saw:
- There is only one way that a peaceful Rutgers strike can become illegal—if President Holloway chooses to make it so. It is entirely his decision whether to sue for a court injunction, and peaceful strikers will be violating no law until the injunction issues.
- If President Holloway does sue for an injunction, he will be seeking a violation of international standards which, as a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United States is obligated to respect.…
- Although New Jersey courts have held, as a matter of judge-made common law, that public employee strikes can be enjoined on the employer’s request as “unlawful,” judges have discretion to consider the equities. If an injunction is issued, we will need to look closely to see exactly what it prohibits. We might be able to challenge the injunction under (living) common law or the New Jersey and/or U.S. Constitutions.
Becky and Amy
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Amy Higer, President, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, PTLFC-AAUP-AFT
- Come to a training session on building strong, lively, and safe picket lines. Click here to sign up for a one-hour session being held via Zoom at numerous times over the coming week. This is your opportunity to learn what a strike will look like and volunteer for various roles.