Rutgers Faculty Unions Suspend Strike after Progress on Core Issues

By Kelly Benjamin

After a historic five-day strike that began on April 10, nine thousand faculty members from three unions at Rutgers University voted to accept a framework for new contracts and return to work immediately. The three unions, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, and AAUP–Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey, released a joint statement on April 15 announcing “significant pay increases for adjuncts; substantial raises for grad workers, moving them toward a living wage; major job security improvements for adjunct and non-tenure-track faculty; union representation for graduate fellows; [and] pay increases for postdocs.” Other wins included common-good commitments to center students and communities and a common contract for academic and medical faculty.

As of this writing, the unions have not yet reached a tentative agreement for members to vote on and will continue to negotiate over unresolved issues. However, the framework shows the vital progress the unions have made on core issues during this contract campaign.

According to the framework agreement, adjunct professors will see a 43 percent pay increase over the course of the contract. Graduate student workers will see a 33 percent salary bump.

At the time this issue of Academe went to press, the strike had been suspended but not ended. “If we do not secure the gains we need on the open issues through bargaining in the coming days, we can and will resume our work stoppage,” the unions said. “The agreements we secured in this framework are a testament to all the workers, students, and community members who organized, talked to colleagues and friends, walked picket lines, and marched in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.”