On April 10, after working nearly 290 days without a contract, three Rutgers University faculty unions went on strike, marking the first teaching walkout in school history.
Union members and supporters participated in rallies and picket lines at the three main Rutgers campuses through April 12 as union leaders negotiated each day with the RU administration in Trenton.
The Rutgers strike captured the attention of New Jersey legislators from both sides of the aisle. On April 10, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, who chairs the Assembly Higher Education Committee, joined the picket line on the Newark campus. That same day, state Sen. Andrew Zwicker, a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee, issued a statement urging “both sides to continue to negotiate in good faith and to work for a quick resolution that results in a contract that is fair, equitable and responsible. It is in everyone’s best interests to forge an agreement that puts students first by supporting educational excellence at Rutgers for generations to come.”
U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross on April 11 tweeted a message about the need to “recognize the tireless work and invaluable support of the faculty, staff and students” that was co-signed by fellow N.J.-serving U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Tom Kean Jr., Andy Kim, Robert Menendez Jr., Bill Pascrell Jr., Donald Payne Jr., Mikie Sherrill, Chris Smith, Jeff Van Drew and Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Negotiations were expected to continue April 13.
ABOVE: AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera (center) walks the New Brunswick picket line with AFT Local 1904’s Rich Wolfson and Laura Field on April 12. (Photo by Chris M. Junior)