In the fall of 1965, 31 members of the faculty of Saint John University were dismissed without trial or hearing. Both the American Association of University Teachers (AAUP) and the Federation of Collegiate Teachers (UFCT) claimed that the university had violated the academic freedom of professors. Saint John, both groups said, demanded that the faculty limit its teaching to a narrow dogmatic approach to Thomism and asked the faculty to submit all articles and books to the administration before requesting publication. St. John`s President Joseph T. Cahill said teachers used their classrooms for propaganda purposes.   In the spring of 1967, as the strike threatened to spread to other Catholic universities in the country and state legislators opened hearings on the dispute, the university accepted arbitration.  Over the next two years, Kugler twice challenged the university`s accreditation before the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. But this body only warned the university and did not take any further action.  The SJU Faculty Association is the collective agreement union unit that negotiates contracts, represents administrative and humane situations, and provides timely information on the rights of full-time and auxiliary teachers at St. John`s University. Although the strike failed by not winning the reinstatement of the faculty, the strike established the AFT as the main union organized by the American University College.
 Kugler quickly turned to other colleges and universities in New York. In the following years, the union, under his leadership, organized premises at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Nassau Community College and Westchester Community College. In 1967, Kugler began rushing for UFCT to organize faculty at CUNY. Supported by the AFT and the newly created (and politically powerful) Federation of Teachers, UFCT not only won an agreement for a union election, but also won the December 6, 1968 elections in the face of a resolute challenge from the AAUP. The union won a second election nine days later (this time for non tenured Faculty) and a contract signed nine months later.   Other tactics have been tried. Some faculties sued the university for fraud for having their names in the 1966 class catalogue.  Pickets increased in the spring of 1966 and at the opening ceremony in the fall of 1966.  The strike ended in June 1967.
The union did not obtain recognition in Saint John, and in 1970 arbitrators decided that the university had not acted inappropriately.  The strike in Saint John began on January 4, 1966. The union insisted on mediation and conciliation in December 1965, but the university refused to submit to either. With The tactic developed by Albert Shanker to win the collective bargaining rights of public teachers in New York City`s public schools, Kugler insisted that local and government authorities interfere in the conflict.