Gov. Murphy summons Rutgers, union leaders to Trenton to negotiate contract deal

Gov. Phil Murphy spoke with both the unions and university by phone Sunday night. He then summoned them to the State House where they met behind closed doors.

Matt Trapani

Apr 10, 2023, 10:21 PM

Updated 469 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy has called Rutgers University and faculty union leaders to the State House to negotiate a contract after faculty members went on strike Monday morning.
“I'm an optimist, and God willing we're getting to a resolution here. It won't be easy, but they're in that room for a reason,” the governor said.
Murphy spoke with both the unions and university by phone Sunday night. He then summoned them to the State House where they met behind closed doors. At the start of the meeting, Murphy delivered a blunt message.
“I’m not happy that it’s come to this. I am happy that we are in a room together. Figure this out. ASAP. Period,” Murphy said.
Union leaders say that they have been trying to negotiate with the university for a while.
“We’ve put proposals across the table 10 months ago now, and they haven’t responded with substance. We’re really far apart,” says Todd Wolfson, vice president of AAUP-AFT.
Wolfson’s organization represents Rutgers professors. He says the biggest sticking point between the two sides remains the pay difference between part-time and full-time faculty.
“We need raises for all of our members that don’t kill us during this time of historic inflation. We have demands for our undergrad students in the communities where we work,” Wolfson says.
The university has said it’s held more than 100 bargaining sessions. In a statement Sunday, the university said it has proposed 12% pay increases for full-time faculty, and 20% per credit pay increases for part-timers.
“I’m optimistic that the governor is stepping in. I think he understands our concerns. I think he cares about labor. And I think his team will be a real positive influence at the table for us,” Wolfson says.
Murphy also says he is optimistic.
“I don't think there's been a more pro-labor administration in the history of our state,” Murphy said. “We need to get a resolution here. If we don't get a resolution, there are many losers. Including the many thousands of students who go to Rutgers. And that would be a really bad, bad outcome.”
Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said Sunday night the university will continue to negotiate for as long as it takes to reach an agreement.


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