Faculty union tweets say strike planning is underway
“Are we ready to strike? Heck yes,” read one of the recent tweets put out by the official twitter account of Rutgers' American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT). The tweet seems to be referring to the AAUP-AFT’s members strike authorization, which The Daily Targum reported on earlier this week.
The whole tweet, posted on Wednesday by Marian Thorpe, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, said, “Just wrapped up a strike planning meeting in Anthropology. Like many departments, we rely on non-tenured & grad labor. Barchi’s refusal to negotiate on grad & adjunct contracts is disgraceful.” Another tweet directly from the AAUP-AFT account that same day said, “We have been bargaining to bring this lofty plan down to earth and to make it real and we have not made sufficient progress at the bargaining table.”
Representatives from the AAUP-AFT have not responded to the Targum’s questions regarding when the strike will happen, if it does. But Deepa Kumar, president of the AAUP-AFT and associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said to the Targum earlier this month that a strike would aim to shut down all classes and disrupt the normal functioning of the University.
“We are fighting to increase the full-time faculty to student ratio to defend quality public education,” Kumar said. “We are fighting for equal pay for equal work for female faculty. And we are fighting to raise the salaries of our lowest paid members, teaching assistants who have not seen a raise since 2013 and who earn $26,000 a year.”
Dory Devlin, senior director of University News and Media Relations, said earlier this month that agreements have been made between five of Rutgers’ labor unions, which have generally given 3-percent raises to members comprising 25 percent of the University’s unionized workforce.
“We are continuing to negotiate in good faith and on a regular basis with the remaining unions,” Devlin said.