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A junior is suing Rutgers University faculty, graduate student, postdoctoral associate and counselor unions that struck in April 2023—plus their state and national union affiliates—for depriving him of a week of education. The student’s lawyers are asking a judge to let the suit become a class action case that could pit 67,000 Rutgers students against the unions.

The lawyers estimate the total damages at $150 million, and say they want the lawsuit to have national impact.

“This case is simple and straightforward: 67,000 students were denied a week of the education they paid for because the unions chose to undertake a knowingly illegal strike,” attorney Daniel Suhr said in a Friday news release accompanying the filing in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Middlesex County.

“This case is important for students nationally as well, because it will set a crucial legal precedent that unions have to pay for the suffering they cause when they shut down schools with illegal strikes,” Suhr said. “Our goal is nothing less than to see an end to illegal strikes in higher education.”

The release further said the statewide and national unions are being sued as defendants alongside the Rutgers ones “to teach other unions that they break the law when they provide financial and moral encouragement to an illegal activity.”

The student, Jeremy Li, calculates in the suit that he pays $615 week to attend Rutgers. The strike lasted a week, and a class action could multiply the amount of possible damages by the number of students. The case is also seeking damages for emotional distress to Li and others, atop punitive damages.

The suit asks the judge to rule that all union “officers who ratified or participated in the strike or attended or spoke at strike-related events are personally liable if the defendants’ [unions’] assets are insufficient to cover the awards.”

The three unions that walked out—in what was Rutgers’ first faculty strike in its over 250-year history—were all affiliated with American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT). Asked about the lawsuit, Rutgers’ AAUP-AFT spokesman said Friday, “we can’t comment until we receive something formally.”