By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for

NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University’s full-time faculty and graduate students voted to approve a new three-year contract that will hike pay by an average of 8 percent, union officials said Thursday.

More than 97 percent of faculty members voted to ratify the contract, according to an announcement by the Rutgers University American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers.

Rutgers officials and union leaders representing the 4,700 faculty members spent months negotiating the deal before announcing a tentative agreement last month.

They two sides were deadlocked over a long-standing clause in the university’s contracts that allows Rutgers to back out of giving employees raises in a financial crisis.

Rutgers used the “subject to” clause
 for the first, and only, time in 2010 when administrators canceled scheduled raises for university employees when the state cut funding to higher education.

Under the new contract, Rutgers can still back out of giving raises in a financial emergency. But school officials must go through several new steps, including negotiating with the union over alternate ways to solve the university’s financial problems.

“Membership activism provided the leverage our negotiating team needed to successfully revise management’s ‘subject to’ clause in order to guarantee our raises cannot be frozen at whim. While we were not able to achieve all of our goals, on balance we think this is a good contract,” said Lisa Klein, president of Rutgers AAUP-⁠⁠AFT.


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