Rutgers profs could withhold final grades amidst contract dispute
🏫 No final agreement between Rutgers and University professors
🏫 A faculty strike has been suspended since April 15
🏫 Unions are considering withholding final grades
Faculty unions at Rutgers University are considering withholding grades for this final semester as talks toward reaching a final contract agreement remain stalled.
Gov. Phil Murphy and his staff helped broker the framework for a new agreement that ended a five-day walkout earlier this month, but the unions stressed the strike was suspended, not ended.
Last week, union leaders raised the prospect of professors going back on picket lines if progress was not made.
Now, union members are being surveyed to see what job actions they would be willing to consider.
A survey sent to every union member alleges "when the Rutgers administration came back to New Brunswick, they returned to their old tactics of delay and obstruction."
"We need to keep the pressure on, so the administration understands that we won't be satisfied until we have a fair contract," the survey reads.
Among the options being considered includes either withholding grades or simply giving every student an "A" grade.
Either option could throw the end of the semester, and the end of this school year, into chaos. Withholding grades could have the biggest impact on graduating seniors.
Other options include informational pickets and protests as well as so called "grade-ins" are various spots on campus.
A Rutgers spokeswoman said last week that the university continues to work toward a contract agreement every day. Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway claimed on April 20, "We continue to be in daily negotiating sessions and believe that we are coming closer to agreements every day."
What is still being bargained?
Union leaders claim there are six unresolved issues:
🔺 5 years of guaranteed funding for all grad workers
🔺 Bargaining for the Common Good demands (ex. Rutgers participation in a community fund)
🔺 Medical faculty getting matching de-tenuring process to academic faculty, longer contract appointments, and fair compensation for clinical faculty's instructional time
🔺 Adjunct faculty health insurance
🔺 COVID funding extensions for grad workers
🔺 Fiscal Emergency provisions
On April 15, Holloway wrote to students that "Fall 2023 course registration and other university wide programming will proceed as scheduled, as reflected on the academic calendar followed by each school. There will be no change to reading days and the schedule of final exams."
However, it is not known if further job actions by union members will impact that schedule.
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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