NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -- Part-time lecturers at Rutgers University are taking collective action Wednesday by joining grade-ins on all Rutgers campuses. 

Rutgers employs nearly 3,000 part-time lecturers, who are demanding a pay increase from about $5,000 a course to $7,250, access to health care and job security. 

They have been bargaining for more than a year.

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“It’s unconscionable that this administration, which is hoarding nearly $800 million in unrestricted reserves and just paid itself $5.5 million in ‘incentive’ bonuses, continues to claim it cannot afford to pay adjuncts a fair wage,” said Teresa Politano, President of the PTL chapter of Rutgers AAUP-AFT. “We’re asking Rutgers to put money back into the classroom. We’re asking Rutgers for a fair salary for those who teach more than 30 percent of the classes. Management’s bonus money alone could foot the bill.”

Part-time lecturers will be joined Wednesday by full-time faculty and graduate workers who just settled their contract with the administration on the brink of what would have been the university’s first-ever faculty strike in 253 years. 

Grade-ins are a peaceful action where instructors gather to collectively grade students’ work in high-visibility locations. The action is to take place at the New Brunswick, Newark and Camden campuses. The grade-in at Rutgers’ largest campus in New Brunswick will take place inside the office of the university president, Winants Hall, from 1 to 4 p.m. In Newark, a grade-in will take place at Hill Hall’s first floor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and in Camden at the Student Center, from 1 to 3 p.m. 

According to a release from the union, May 1 was chosen in part because it is May Day, known and celebrated around the world as International Workers Day. 

“Adjuncts are not disposable; they are highly qualified educators who are central to student success at Rutgers and deserve fair wages and respect,” said Deepa Kumar, president of the full-time chapter representing nearly 5,000 professors, teaching assistants and graduate assistants.