AFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsMediaPress ClipsReclaim Rutgers

Rutgers professors will get raises, added financial protections under new contract deal

By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for

NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University administrators have reached a deal with the school’s faculty union that boosts professors’ pay and makes it more difficult for the school to withhold raises when the university runs into financial trouble, union officials said today.

Professor Paul Kimmel lectures during a Rutgers University chemistry class
Professor Paul Kimmel lectures during a Rutgers University chemistry class in the Beck Hall auditorium on Livingston Campus in Piscataway in this 2014 file photo. (Ed Murray | The Star-Ledger)

The state university and its professors union have been negotiating a new contract for months. The two sides clashed over a long-standing “subject to” provision in the contract that allows Rutgers to back out of giving employees negotiated raises if the state cuts funding to the university.

Rutgers used the “subject to” provision for the first, an only, time in 2010 when the university announced it would not give employees the raises called for in their contracts because the state had slashed funding to the school.

The new contract says Rutgers can still use the “subject to” provision in a fiscal emergency, school officials said. But, the deal says the university must give the union 21 days notice if it has a financial emergency and provide financial documents to detail the problem. The university must also negotiate with the union over ways to solve the financial emergency before it cancels raises.

“Members of both negotiating teams are to be congratulated and thanked for their hard work, perseverance, and creativity in arriving at the components of the new agreement, which requires ratification by the membership,” Lisa Klein, the union’s president, and Richard Edwards, Rutgers’ executive vice president for academic affairs and chancellor of the New Brunswick campus, said in a joint statement.

The new contract applies to the nearly 4,700 members of the Rutgers University American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), which includes professors, graduate assistants and teaching assistants.

Union officials said they hope the rewritten “subject to” provision will be included in the contracts of all 20,000 unionized workers at Rutgers. Several unions are currently negotiating new contracts.

“All Rutgers workers need to know that negotiated raises will be honored,” said Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators-AFT, which represents more than 2,300 administrative workers.