The Rutgers University strike, which saw some 9,000 staff members participate in a work stoppage that paused the education of 67,000 students at the university’s Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden campuses, was suspended on Saturday, April 15.

Union bargaining committees and school management said they had come to an agreement on the framework of a four-year labor deal the evening before. Brokered with the assistance of Gov. Phil Murphy, the deal, according to Rutgers AAUP-AFT, proposes agreements regarding 18 union contract issues.

There are agreed-upon raises for full-time faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, postdoctoral associates, part-time lecturers (PTLs), Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) counselors, and Winter-Summer Instructors. PTLs who have taught for two years will now have two-semester appointments and those who have been with Rutgers for 12 years or longer will receive four-semester appointments; PTL appointment renewals are also, for the first time, practically guaranteed.

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Other issues remain outstanding, including a promise of five years of funding for graduate assistants, student debt forgiveness, a fund to help undocumented and other service workers across the campuses, and a settlement with medical faculty

The agreed-to frameworks could become tentative agreements.

Members of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, and the AAUP-BHSNJ will have to vote on the deal for it to be finalized.

“In return for this framework, the three Rutgers union leadership bodies agreed to suspend our five-day strike and return to work immediately,” the Rutgers AAUP-AFT said. “However, a suspension of our strike is not a cancellation. There are still crucial outstanding articles addressing core issues that have not yet been tentatively agreed to between the unions and management, and so bargaining and the fight continues. 

“If we do not secure the gains we need on the open issues through bargaining in the coming days, we can and will resume our work stoppage,” the union warned.When Murphy announced the brokered deal after 1 a.m. on April 15, he said, “This fair and amicable conclusion respects the interests of many different stakeholders, upholds New Jersey’s values, and puts an end to a standoff that was disruptive to our educators and students alike.”

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