🔺Rutgers faculty overwhelmingly vote to strike

🔺Contract talks have been stalled for months

🔺Classes could be cancelled for students returning from Spring Break

When students return from Spring break, they could find classes canceled at Rutgers University.

Rutgers is facing its first-ever faculty strike after union members overwhelmingly authorized a walkout if a new contract agreement cannot be reached.

After a 10-day voting period, the union says 94% of the Members of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT voted in favor of a walkout on the New Brunswick, Camden and Newark campuses.

Facebook/Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Facebook/Rutgers AAUP-AFT

That does not mean a strike is going to happen.

"The vote does not mean a strike is inevitable," the union said in a statement. "The leadership bodies of our two unions will decide in the coming weeks whether a strike is necessary to win the contracts we deserve. But the vote is a show of unity and strength that we hope the administration recognizes. The ball is in their court."

Facebook/Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Facebook/Rutgers AAUP-AFT

It is not clear if Rutgers and the union have made any progress toward a new agreement.

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway said in a letter that he was grateful union leaders "do not want the situation to come to a strike." Holloway says he is taking the demand for raises "seriously."

Union president Amy Higer expressed doubt, saying a strike may be the "only way to get Rutgers to take our demands seriously."

The biggest issues remain what adjunct professors are paid and how they are hired.

Currently, adjuncts have their contracts renewed every semester. The union wants longer-term contracts and pay equity with full-time professors.

Facebook/Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Facebook/Rutgers AAUP-AFT

They are also demanding better pay for graduate workers who teach classes. Currently, these student teachers make only about $30,000 per year at Rutgers, far less than what they are paid at other universities.

If a strike does occur, it would be the first walkout in Rutgers' 256-year history.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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