Rutgers’ historic strike is suspended on tentative deal
“This fair and amicable conclusion respects the interests of many different stakeholders … and puts an end to a standoff that was disruptive to our educators and students alike,” Murphy said in a statement.
The strike began Monday and came after the unions, which represent nearly 9,000 workers across three campuses, said they had failed to reach a contract agreement with university administration after nearly a year of bargaining.
It was the first strike in the history of Rutgers University, founded in 1766, and caused disruption for its 67,000 students, some of whom saw classes canceled or nearly empty.
The unions were fighting for a salary increase that kept up with inflation; job security, including longer contracts for untenured faculty; a living wage for teaching assistants; and race and gender equity initiatives, among other demands.
Jonathan Holloway, president of Rutgers University, announced Saturday the provisions in the framework agreement.
Full-time faculty and counselors will receive salary increases across the board by at least 14 percent by July 1, 2025. Part-time lecturers will get a 43.8 percent increase in per-class credit salary over the course of four years, according to the university.
Minimum salaries for postdoctoral fellows and associates will increase by 27.9 percent over the same period. Teaching and graduate assistants will see their 10-month salaries increase to $40,000 over the course of their contract. The contracts are retroactive to July 1, 2022, university officials said.
The tentative agreement will have to be ratified by members in a secret ballot, union officials said, cautioning that there are still “open issues that need to be resolved.”
The strike suspension comes as students are nearing the end of their school year and entering exams season. Holloway said the final exams schedule will not change, and course registrations slated to start Monday will proceed as scheduled. Commencement plans are “proceeding,” he said, without providing specifics.
“Our students’ academic success, well-being, and progress is our utmost priority,” Holloway said. “Closure on this framework will allow our 67,000 students to resume their studies and pursue their academic degrees.”
The unions involved include the Rutgers American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers, which represents faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral workers and counselors. The Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union is also at the table and represents part-time lecturers. They were joined by the American Association of University Professors-Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey, representing faculty who teach at Rutgers University’s medical and public health institutes.
In a joint statement on Saturday, the unions said they have secured “profound victories” while warning a strike could resume.
“Our historic strike got us to this point,” officials said. “And let us be clear, a suspension of our strike is not a cancellation. 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.”