NEW BRUNSWICK – A strike is looming at Rutgers University as faculty members fight for their demands to be met.
AAUP-AFT Union members say before they go on strike, they are giving university officials one more chance to meet their demands. They will be addressing the university’s board of governors when the board meets in Newark Tuesday.
“We’d like to inform them of how serious the faculty are. How serious the students are as well and that we really intend to win these things for our members and for higher education in New Jersey,” says union vice president David Hughes.
The union is fighting for three things: Equal pay for equal work, including part-time and female faculty, salary increases for graduate assistants and more staff to lower the teacher-to-student ratio.
Hughes says the union has plans for a strike if these demands are not met – which leaves some Rutgers students nervous.
“The semester is almost over and you think that you’re going to just grind the next four weeks… but it kind of sounds like it might be disrupted – your class schedule, your exams and then it’s going to affect your next few weeks of the semester,” says student Danielle Shapiro.
Hughes says that he is hopeful that an agreement can be reached. He says that there has been some progress with the administration.
“Last week [Rutgers University] President [Robert] Barchi made a concession that his team — his bargaining team — would never make. And that is to put $20 million on the table in order to diversify our faculty so it looks more like the people of New Jersey,” says Hughes.
A spokesperson for the university said in a statement, “We have held 35 negotiating sessions with the AAUP-AFT and a robust and active schedule of negotiating sessions has been set for the coming weeks … We are continuing to negotiate in good faith and on a regular basis with the remaining unions.”
Negotiations are expected to take place Wednesday and Monday. A date for the strike has not been set.