Day 4 – Progress reported towards ending Rutgers Strike
🔺 Rutgers professors strike enters day four
🔺 Progress is being reports, but is a deal close?
🔺 Bernie Sanders tweets his support for workers
Progress is being reported towards ending the professors strike at Rutgers University.
Whether that progress has an actual deal near, however, is not clear as of Thursday morning.
As some 9,000 full-time faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates and counselors hoist picket signs for a fourth day, bargaining units from Rutgers and three unions remain sequestered in Gov. Phil Murphy's office in Trenton.
Murphy summoned both sides to the Statehouse after the strike began on Monday.
"We've made more progress in these two days than we have in many months,” said Rutgers AAUP-AFT President Rebecca Givan.
In a statement on Wednesday, a Rutgers spokesperson said they were "encouraged by the progress we are making."
Both Rutgers and the unions thanked Gov. Murphy for helping to bring the two sides together.
The unions also clarified that while its members were on strike, some workers would continue with essential work.
AAUP-BHSNJ represents health science faculty in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences facilities. The union says its members will continue to perform patient care duties and critical research, but will curb any voluntary duties.
Aside from loud pickets on Rutgers campuses in Newark, Camden and New Brunswick, union members marched to the home of Rutgers Board member Mark Manigan’s home in Maplewood.
Strike gets political
Murphy has been taking some heat for his intervention in the bargaining process. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial critical of Murphy's request that Rutgers not seek a court order to force striking professors back to work. The Journal says by asking for the delay, Murphy tipped the negotiation scales to the union.
On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders posted a video on Twitter that was supportive of striking Rutgers workers. Sanders thanked union members for their bravery and said he stands in solidarity with them.
"What you are doing is enormously important and inspiring," Sanders said, "Thank you for helping to lead the way for decent wages and working conditions on our college campuses."
That prompted a terse response from Republican candidate for Governor Jack Ciattarelli.
"Notice how (Bernie Sanders) never mentions students," Ciattarelli wrote, "Especially the seniors who are a few weeks away from graduation. Maybe that's why the last time Sanders came to New Jersey to campaign for Phil Murphy, only a few dozen people showed up. Do us a favor Senator - stay in Vermont."
Union and Rutgers negotiators will be back in Trenton to continue bargaining starting at 10 a.m.
Union workers will be picketing in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.