Rutgers University (Photo by Elizabeth Villalta on Unsplash)

Rutgers students, faculty, graduate workers, and staff will come together last Friday for a joint rally to call on the university to commit to pursuing climate justice and negotiating fair contracts for Rutgers’ 19,000 union employees.

The rally will take place outside Alexander Library (169 College Ave., New Brunswick), before President Jonathan Holloway’s annual “State of the University” address to the University Senate at 1:10 p.m. Rally organizers say union members and student activists will talk about “the real state of the university”—and what changes are needed to achieve a better Rutgers.

The largest unions at Rutgers have been without a contract since previous agreements expired on June 30. Union leaders say the Rutgers administration has dragged its feet in addressing their main demands and is putting obstacles in the way of even meeting for bargaining.

The rally is being organized in conjunction with student-led mobilizations for climate justice the same day: an 11 a.m. rally in New Brunswick’s Monument Square (318 George St.) calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to block proposed new fossil-fuel projects and a 1 p.m. march from campus to US Rep. Frank Pallone’s office (67 Church St.) and New Brunswick City Hall (78 Bayard St.) to emphasize calls for environmental reform at the local and federal levels.

“Our different organizations and unions all chose this day to send a message to the Rutgers administration and to political officeholders, so we’re working together to support each other,” said Rebecca Givan, president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the union representing full-time faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates, and counselors. “Students have been organizing for climate justice measures, and they need to be heard. The contracts for our unions at Rutgers expired nearly three months ago—we need the administration to act on our proposals with the same urgency we feel.”

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