Professor Strike Looms at Rutgers University Campus as Faculty Demands Equal Pay, More Diversity - NBC New York

Professor Strike Looms at Rutgers University Campus as Faculty Demands Equal Pay, More Diversity

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Strike Looms at Rutgers University

    The first strike in Rutgers University history is looming — and the faculty union says there's a strong possibility it will happen. Jen Maxfield reports.

    (Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

    What to Know

    • More than 100 members of the faculty at the Newark campus of Rutgers University protested outside the Board of Governors meeting Tuesday

    • Teachers’ union wants equal pay between male and female faculty, a more diverse staff that reflects student body and higher wages

    • The university and unions have negotiating sessions scheduled for the upcoming weeks, a Rutgers University spokesperson said

    More than 100 members of the faculty at the Newark campus of Rutgers University protested outside the Board of Governors meeting Tuesday as the possibility of a professor strike looms.

    The teachers’ union at this campus of New Jersey’s state university wants equal pay between male and female faculty, a more diverse staff that reflects the student body and higher wages for instructors at Rutgers—Newark and Camden who say they are less than their New Brunswick campus counterparts.

    “We are in the same boat,” Deepa Kumar, a professor and union president, said. “We are fighting for affordable, quality public education. That is why so many students were out today.”

    Students on campus say they find the pay gap between Rutgers—Newark and Rutgers—New Brunswick especially troubling.

    “It’s all the same college, this is all Rutgers so I think they should all get paid the same,” student Jaileea Rosario said.

    Negotiations between Rutgers administrators and the teachers’ union is scheduled to continue until the end of April.

    The president of the union says her 5,500 members do not want to strike at the end of the spring semester, but they will if they have to.

    “The reason why 88 percent of our faculty and grads voted to authorize a strike is because we feel disrespected,” Kumar said. “Give us a good contract. Let’s evert a strike. Let’s not disrupt our students’ education or our own teaching and service and research.”

    In a statement, a university spokesperson said: “We are continuing to negotiate in good faith and on a regular basis with the remaining unions.”

    The university and unions have negotiating sessions scheduled for the upcoming weeks, the spokesperson said.

    Although there is no firm strike deadline set, the union at Rutgers—Newark has claimed one early victory as a result of threatening to strike: the Rutgers administration has pledged $20 million to put to hiring more diverse faculty members.

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