In a convergence of labor, student, community, and climate forces, Rutgers University students, faculty, graduate workers, and staff joined for a day of speakouts, rallies, and marches for climate justice and fair contracts for the university’s 19,000 union employees.
“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, and others. “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.”
The day’s events started with a demonstration calling on Governor Phil Murry to veto proposals for seven major fossil fuel projects. Then a rally on campus called on the university to start bargaining with its workers for a fair contract. Then climate justice activists led a march to New Brunswick City Hall calling for city-level climate reforms: expand and add city bike lanes; incorporate green affordable housing with solar-ready rooftops; opposed a gas power plant in Woodbridge, NJ, and install community gardens in each neighborhood.