Faculty members at Rutgers University have authorized a strike if the school doesn’t meet their union’s various demands.
According to The Inquirer, the strike was authorized last week after 88 percent of members of The American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers at Rutgers’ group, representing 4,800 full-time faculty and graduate employees, voted in its favor should negotiations with university officials continue to drag on.
“We do not want to have to call a strike unless we absolutely have to,” Deepa Kumar, president of the union, said. “We are fighting to defend quality public higher education, and this is not just about the faculty and graduate students. This is about our students.”
Faculty members and the union have been trying to renegotiate their contract with administrators since it expired in June. Their demands include an increase in pay to student teachers; equal pay for female faculty members; salary increases for teaching assistants, and improvements in student-faculty ratios.
“Faculty are not eager to strike. We recognize and want to minimize any disruption to Rutgers students. However, even if we have to strike, the benefits for higher education and students at Rutgers will be much greater than the short-term cancellation of any classes,” David Hughes, vice-president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT and the bargaining committee chair, said.
“We are convinced that this administration is so misguided … that a strike is both necessary and a good investment in the future,” he added.
In January, faculty at Wright State University also went on a strike over its labor contract, which they alleged had potential to reduce both the quality and quantity of research and scholarships.