Rutgers Univesity Staff on a Historic Strike, Classes Canceled for the First Time in School’s History

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Apr 13, 2023


Thousands of full-time and part-time staff at Rutgers University have gone on a historic strike on Monday after one year of contracts dispute, suspending classes for the first time in the university’s history.

Three unions representing about 9,000 staff and faculty at Rutgers went on strike on Monday morning, affecting more than 67,000 students from 50 states and more than 120 countries, reports.

Faculty and staff demands include better payments, better working conditions, and secure contracts. Local media reports say that New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy has responded to their action and is trying to solve the issues.

“Better salary. Better working conditions. Great job security,” Professor Leo Sacks told CBC News.

Rutger’s faculty union president told the same source that staff has been using cheap labor to teach students for decades, pointing out that the turnover is high while the wages are insufficient.

Graduate students are particularly optimistic that the strike will lead to positive changes, saying they hope the action will result in better wages.

“So right now, my pay is $31,000 for the year, and a livable wage at minimum is $47,000 in the state of New Jersey. So as you can tell, that’s a big discrepancy. So that’s the reason why I’m out here because I love students. I love teaching, but I can’t do the work effectively if I have to have three, four other jobs to pay my bills,” American Studies PhD student, Dominique Rocker, told the New York Post.

Rutgers University has a 256-year history and is one of the oldest universities in the nation. It employs more than 8,000 full and part-time faculty, over 14,000 full and part-time staff, and more than 1,500 international scholars from nearly 100 countries.

There are 48,040 undergraduate students enrolled at Rutgers, and 19,580 graduates, with women accounting for 54 percent of all students while men for 46 percent.

Since January of this year, some graduate students working as research and teaching assistants at Temple University in the United States have walked out for better pay. As a result of their strike, the university decided to cancel free tuition and healthcare benefits for them.

Temple informed striking graduates through an email that their tuition remission of about $20,000 yearly would be annulled for the annual term due to their participation in the strike. They were obliged to pay the full tuition by a deadline or face a $100 late fee.

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