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Faculty strike day 2: Larger crowds join striking workers

The first teaching strike in Rutgers' 257-year history continued yesterday, with faculty union members and supporters holding picket lines, rallies and marches across all Rutgers campuses.

Yesterday morning, the Rutgers chapter of the American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union (PTLFC) and the American Association of University Professors at the Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey (AAUP–BHSNJ) released a joint statement that provided updates on the strike's logistics and the unions' contract negotiations with the University.

The statement also addressed the University-wide email that University President Jonathan Holloway sent on Monday night, specifically responding to his claims that strikers interrupted some in-session classes.

"Let’s be clear: Our picket lines have been and will continue to be a peaceful, nonviolent expression of our determination to make a better Rutgers for our students and workers," the statement said.

Additionally, the joint statement discussed Holloway's assertion that he is currently refraining from pursuing legal action to end the strike but will reconsider if no progress is made in regard to contract negotiations.

"Rather than threatening us, we urge (Holloway) to demand movement from his negotiators, who have repeatedly said 'no' to our core proposals," the statement said.

Contract negotiations continued at the New Jersey State House in Trenton, with negotiators from the unions and the University involved in bargaining throughout the day.

Simultaneously, on the Camden, Newark and New Brunswick campuses, picket lines started at 9 a.m. Included in these demonstrations were a 3 p.m. rally at Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue campus and a march through downtown New Brunswick.

Approximately 100 demonstrators marched from the Douglass Student Center down George Street to Winants Hall on the College Avenue campus.

The march began at approximately 2:30 p.m. and caused traffic delays throughout the downtown area, attracting the attention of a Telemundo 47 helicopter and resulting in a University-wide traffic advisory, which requested that students avoid the area.

Police officers from the Rutgers University Police Department and the New Brunswick Police Department escorted the marchers and provided traffic control.

The marching demonstrators met with those already picketing on the College Avenue campus, where hundreds attended a several hours-long rally at Voorhees Mall with music performances and a lively atmosphere.

Yesterday at 8 p.m., members from the three striking unions held a public session with updates regarding the ongoing contract negotiations and tomorrow's strike plans. During the meeting, those directly involved in the negotiations in Trenton provided insight into the bargaining process.

Whitney Strub, an associate professor at Rutgers—Newark and a bargaining committee representative for the Newark campus, said the negotiators are making progress and are grateful for Gov. Phil Murphy's (D-N.J.) involvement.

"We are at the bargaining table. We are working for a fair and just contract. We think we are going to get there," Strub said.

Catherine Monteleone, a professor at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) and a representative for the AAUP–BHSNJ, said she had the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues in negotiations today on behalf of the workers at RBHS.

David Letwin, a Mason Gross School of the Arts professor and a representative for the PTLFC, said he felt inspired and confident that the unions would succeed in the contract negotiations.

"We were not going to win our contract at the bargaining table," he said. "We were going to win it with the power we generated outside the bargaining table."

In response to a request for comment by The Daily Targum, the University said it did not have any updates to offer on the situation.

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