Rider University’s faculty union has voted to authorize its negotiating team to call a strike if necessary in order to achieve a fair contract for teachers.
Hours after the vote, union members gathered to make signs in preparation for the strike.
The vote, taken Thursday, allows the negotiating team to take such actions as calling for informational picketing, stopping uncompensated work that bargaining unit members do for the university, or announcing a strike if necessary.
“If no progress can be made without a strike, then we are going to go onstrike,” said Jeff Halpern, who leads the faculty’s bargaining team.
The union, a chapter of the American Association of University Professors, represents more than 250 full-time and 470 part-time professors, librarians, coaches, athletic trainers and reading clinicians on the Lawrenceville campus and the Westminster Choir College campus in Princeton Borough.
The union is currently working under a contract extension. While negotiations on a new contract were taking place during the summer, the union’s action committee was meeting to prepare for the possibility of a strike. Rider professors last went on strike in 1974, although in 1994 a walkout was avoided only at the last minute.
A negotiating team will meet with university officials again tomorrow to try to hammer out details of a new contract. The key issue is salary and benefits.
“The faculty is united in its support of the negotiating team in seeking a fair and equitable agreement,” said Roberta Clipper, president of Rider’s AAUP chapter, in a news release about the possible strike.