📝 Rutgers faculty unions sued for strike

📝 Lawsuit on behalf of all Rutgers students

📝 Suit seeks ‘punitive damages’ for learning loss, anxiety


A Rutgers University junior is suing faculty and labor unions for damages from the five-day Rutgers faculty strike a year ago.

Jeremy Li, a commuter student at the New Brunswick campus and aspiring conservative commentator, on Friday filed a class action suit on behalf of all 67,000 Rutgers students impacted by the strike near the end of the spring semester.

lawsuit over Rutgers strike filed by student, Jeremy Li (left) (Strikers at Rutgers in New Brunswick, April 10, 2023 (Jeremy Li Facebook, Canva, AP Photo, Seth Wenig)
Lawsuit over Rutgers strike filed by student, Jeremy Li (left) (Strikers at Rutgers in New Brunswick, April 10, 2023 (Jeremy Li Facebook, Canva, AP Photo, Seth Wenig)
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“The Rutgers faculty unions were aware that public employee strikes are illegal in New Jersey, but in Spring 2023 they chose to strike anyway,” according to Li's lawsuit, which seeks punitive damages for all Rutgers students.

The suit accuses the striking faculty of causing at least three kinds of harm — "failure to receive the services they purchased with their tuition, the degradation of their overall academic experience and the learning loss of being behind that semester, and the emotional anxiety of uncertainty, confusion, and frustration, especially near finals."

It also breaks down tuition costs for an average commuter student over an entire academic year as roughly $615.17 for a week of classes.

Strike at Rutgers University Newark April 10, 2023 (AP PhotoTed Shaffrey)
Strike at Rutgers University Newark April 10, 2023 (AP PhotoTed Shaffrey)
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The lawsuit alleges negligence, breach of contract and violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, among its counts.

Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, and AAUP-BHSNJ collectively represent more than 15,000 Rutgers workers in all.

On Monday afternoon, spokespeople for at least two of the unions, Rutgers AAUP-AFT and the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, said they had not yet been properly notified about the suit — and had first heard about it from reporters seeking comment.

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Jeremy Li (left), then-gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli (right) (Jeremy Li via Facebook)
Jeremy Li (left), then-gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli (right) (Jeremy Li via Facebook)
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Who is Jeremy Li?

Li, of Bridgewater, is the chairman of the Rutgers Republicans and has been a contributor on Fox News Channel's “Fox and Friends,” as well as New Jersey-focused conservative streaming series “Real Talk With Fernando Uribe.”

Li is also a correspondent for Campus Reform, whose mission statement says it "exposes liberal bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses."

“Jeremy’s experience of lost learning, academic anxiety, and emotional distress is typical of the student class according to academic research on faculty strikes,” the lawsuit says.

Thousands of professors, part-time lecturers and graduate student workers at Rutgers University carried out the five-day strike at the New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses as students prepared for final exams and graduation.

“This class action is a simple, straightforward way to provide justice, accountability, and compensation for the 67,000 students who were denied a week of the education they paid for because these unions chose to undertake a selfish and illegal strike,” according to the complaint filed in Superior Court in New Brunswick.

With previous reporting by the Associated Press

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