Rutgers' unions ratify new contracts, formally ending strike

Three faculty unions that went on strike last month at New Jersey’s flagship university have overwhelmingly approved four-year contracts, formally ending the first such job action in the school’s 257-year history.

Thousands of professors, part-time lecturers and graduate student workers at Rutgers University staged the five-day strike at the New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses as students were finishing their spring semester and preparing for finals and commencement. It began April 10 after months of negotiations had failed to resolve disputes over salary increases, better job security for adjunct faculty and guaranteed funding for graduate students, among other requests.

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Union leaders announced Monday that the new contracts were approved by 93% of members casting ballots. The deals include across-the-board raises and additional job security for part-time lecturers, along with significant raises and job security provisions for graduate workers.

Three unions, which represent about 9,000 Rutgers staff members, were involved in the strike: the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, which represents full-time faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates and some counselors; the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, which represents part-time lecturers; and the AAUP-BHSNJ, which includes faculty in the biomedical and health sciences at Rutgers’ medical, dental, nursing and public health schools.