As finals near, Rutgers profs could resume striking
🔺 Rutgers unions say progress toward a final contract agreement is too slow
🔺 Professors could resume their walkout
🔺 That could impact final exams. The last day of classes is May 1
With the final day of classes at Rutgers University scheduled for May 1, professors have been back in the classrooms. They could soon be back on picket lines just as final exams begin.
While Gov. Phil Murphy helped broker the framework of a deal that ended a five-day strike, the final details of a new contract have yet to be worked out.
It was the first strike in Rutgers' 257-year history and caused chaos on campus with the disruption of classes just as the semester was drawing to a close.
Union officials said on Thursday that progress has been slow. Too slow, and a resumption of the strike could be imminent.
Despite not having reached a final agreement, three unions representing 9,000 professors, lecturers and grad students agreed to suspend the walkout while the details of a new agreement were finalized.
There have been informational pickets on all three campuses and faculty members picketed outside the Board of Governor's offices as they met in New Brunswick.
A Facebook post read: "Help us send an urgent message to the Board of Governors: we are willing to go back on strike if our open demands are not met."
Union leaders then publicly voiced the urgency as final talks bogged down.
Two key issues remain:
🔺 Health insurance for part-time lecturers
🔺 Issues surrounding parental leave and job security
There are also issues with faculty members at the University of Dentistry and Medicine. There remains a disparity among some workers who were on the payroll before a merger with Rutgers in 2012.
A spokeswoman for Rutgers contends progress on those and other remaining issues are being made every day, but union leaders are growing frustrated with the pace of talks.
The unions have not set a timetable for when they might resume the strike.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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