“These Are Tough Issues, but We’ve Made Progress”
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Three unions representing educators, researchers, and clinicians at Rutgers University will return to the picket lines on all three campuses today, as intensive negotiations continue in the state capital of Trenton.
Picketing will start at 9 a.m., with bigger gatherings planned for the early afternoon. In New Brunswick, striking educators from all five local campuses will again descend on the College Avenue campus at 1 p.m. in front of Scott Hall (43 College Ave.) for music and a drag show, followed by a march to the nearby administration buildings.
See below for picket line and rally locations and Monday interview availability.
Click here for media resources for covering the Rutgers strike.
Union leaders were more hopeful after two days of bargaining in the state capital of Trenton. At Governor Phil Murphy’s invitation, the striking unions and Rutgers negotiators met in his office for intensive sessions that lasted well into the night.
“These are tough issues, and it’s exhausting work, but we’ve made more progress in these two days than we have in many months,” said Rutgers AAUP-AFT President Rebecca Givan. “That’s a testament to Governor Murphy’s influence in overcoming the resistance of the administration to some of our core demands. We thank him for that. And we thank our members for continuing to demonstrate on the picket line and at rallies our commitment to the values of supporting the most vulnerable among us, including our students and communities.”
The three striking unions are Rutgers AAUP-AFT, which represents full-time faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates and counselors; the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, which represents so-called part-time lecturers; and AAUP-BHSNJ, which represents health science faculty in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences facilities. Together, the three unions represent around 9,000 people. AAUP-BHSNJ members will continue to perform patient care duties and critical research, while curbing voluntary duties.
On Tuesday, a fourth Rutgers union, the Union of Rutgers Administrators-AFT, representing 2,500 administrative staff throughout the Rutgers system, announced that they would initiate a strike pledge campaign, followed by a vote on strike authorization.
“The URA has been bargaining for the past 10 months, but has not made much progress on many of our key priorities, including fair salary increases, telework, career pathways, and equity for our essential workers,” the union said in an announcement on its website. “Our members’ commitment towards a strike pledge is representative of our willingness to escalate to win a fair contract.”
Leaders of the three striking unions said picket lines grew “stronger and longer,” swelled not only by members but a growing number of undergraduate student supporters and community members. In New Brunswick, picketers from campuses several miles away converged on the College Avenue campus in early afternoon for what Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union President Amy Higer called a “celebration of our unity and power.”
“The march from Cook campus, where I was, took us through the streets of downtown New Brunswick,” Higer said. “It was an inspiring moment, and that’s especially due to the excitement and passion of our students and our supporters in the communities around our campuses. They know that our fight is their fight, too. Our proposals aren’t just about wages; they are about fighting for all the vulnerable.”
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Wednesday Picket Line Locations: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
- College Avenue Campus: 43 College Ave., outside Scott Hall, New Brunswick
- Cook/Douglass Campus: corner of George Street and Chapel Drive/Nichol Road, New Brunswick
- Livingston Campus: Livingston Student Center, 84 Joyce Kilmer Ave., Piscataway
- Busch Campus: lawn side of Weeks Hall of Engineering, 500 Bartholomew Rd., Piscataway
- Plaza in front of Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
- Plaza outside Law School, between University Avenue and Washington Street
- Outside Campus Center, near Third Street, north of Cooper Street