Rutgers faculty still without contract 1 week after ending labor strike

Union members were on strike for about a week before they agreed to go back to the classroom amid a tentative deal.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Apr 21, 2023, 9:06 PM

Updated 458 days ago


Rutgers faculty and adjuncts are still without a contract a week after a framework for a new contract was agreed upon. But as negotiations continue, union members say that they are growing more frustrated.
Union members were on strike for about a week before they agreed to go back to the classroom amid a tentative deal. But with no permanent deal in place, union members are again requesting help from Gov. Phil Murphy.
“If Gov. Murphy is listening, please help us finish these contracts,” says adjunct professor, Amy Higer.
Higer has been a political science adjunct for 23 years. She says that she and other union members feel that the administration is dragging its feet with a deal. Higher says that she is pleased with the salary increase on the table for adjuncts like her.
“It’s a 40% raise for those who are starting out,” Higher says. "I think it's in the area of about $10,000 a course."
Under the "framework" deal, adjuncts will have one-to-two-year appointments. Higer says she will no longer have to apply for her job each semester.
"For us, that is transformative. To know what you're going to be doing, even for a year. And to be guaranteed the level, of course, you've had in the past is a tremendous gain for us,” Higer says.
Graduate assistants are also getting a salary bump to $40,000 a year. The university has said that negotiations are taking place all week long. But among the hold-ups are salaries for those who teach in labs, as well as parental leave for those who teach in the biomedical field.
Meanwhile, students at Rutgers’s Newark campus were going to class as usual. With three weeks left until graduation, seniors say that they are hoping that another strike is averted.
"We are playing catchup right now, basically. So it's a little stressful, especially for me,” says student Camille Ledda. “With work life and everything. It's very stressful for me."
Other students say that they are just happy to be back in class and haven't heard much about negotiations.
"My professors haven't really brought anything that's going on outside of the classroom into the classroom,” says student Nelianna Acevedo.
Some professors tell News 12 they were happy to get back in the classroom this past week.
The governor has not said if he will once again involve himself in negotiations.

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