NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Thousands of faculty, part-time lecturers and graduate students at New Jersey’s flagship university went on strike Monday, the first labor action of its kind in the school’s 257-year history.

Classes were still being held at Rutgers while pickets were being set up at the school’s campuses in New Brunswick/Piscataway, Newark and Camden, though students said some had been canceled due to the strike. Union officials decided Sunday night to go on strike, citing a deadlock in contract negotiations that have been ongoing since July. Faculty members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike last month.

Three unions, representing some 9,000 Rutgers staff members, participated in the walkout: Rutgers AAUP-AFT, which represents full-time faculty, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates, and some counselors; the Rutgers Adjunct Faculties Union, which represents part-time faculty; and the AAUP-BHSNJ, which includes professors of biomedical and health sciences in the Rutgers schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and public health.

Union leaders said faculty members in medical and other health sciences schools would continue to carry out essential research and patient care, but reduce tasks that do not affect patient health and safety.

Officials also said negotiations would continue on Monday. The two sides were scheduled to meet at Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s office on Capitol Hill around noon.

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said Sunday that he believed the two sides were close to reaching an agreement. Union officials, however, said a deal did not appear close.

«To say this is deeply disappointing would be an understatement,» Holloway said.

Union leaders say they are demanding salary increases, greater job security for adjunct professors and guaranteed funding for graduate students, among other requests.

Holloway has said the university offered to increase the salaries of full-time faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants by 12% by 2025. The university offered an additional 3% balloon payment to all faculty unions to be paid during the first two years of the new contract.