3 unions at Rutgers University have reached tentative agreements

The agreements, which include raises and job protections, covers educators, researchers, and clinicians through June 2026.

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The Camden campus of Rutgers University. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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After nearly a year of negotiations, leaders of three unions that represent 9,000 educators, clinicians, and researchers have approved tentative agreements with Rutgers University.

Leaders approved the contract language at a meeting Sunday and will recommend ratification to members at town hall discussions.

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The contracts will run through the end of June 2026. Among the highlights:

  • Full-time faculty will see a 14% raise over the life of the contract.
  • Adjunct faculty are close to equal pay for equal work, when compared to non-tenured full-time faculty.
  • Graduate fellows performing the work of teaching assistants or graduate assistants will be reclassified with full pay and health care benefits.
  • Five years of guaranteed funding for Ph.D. candidates starting in Fall 2024.
  • Longer appointment terms for non-tenure track faculty.

Also achieved in the tentative agreement: a guarantee that the university will no longer withhold or restrict registration, transcripts, and diplomas due to unpaid fines, fees, and parking citations issued by Rutgers. In addition, the start of a community fund that will be administered by nonprofit organizations and renewable each year. The fund already has a commitment from the state of $600,000.

Members will vote on the contract starting later this week through noontime on May 8. If ratified, the pay raises would be retroactive from last July.

The three unions involved are Rutgers American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers, the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union, and AAUP-Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey. They issued a joint statement praising what was achieved through bargaining.

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“We didn’t win everything we asked for and deserve, but no labor contract ever does,” they said, adding that members will have the final say on whether the agreements will be ratified. “We believe these are strong contracts that make numerous advances for our members.

It took a five-day work stoppage and intervention from Gov. Phil Murphy for the two sides to reach a framework to work out an agreement. Even then, the unions shifted their strategy while returning to work.

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway praised the governor for bringing all sides together in Trenton.

“Reaching this point today is a recognition that we all can come together and work through our differences for the good of the university,” he said.

Murphy echoed those sentiments in his statement.

“As one of the nation’s leading universities, Rutgers has long been a source of pride for our state,” he said. “Ensuring Rutgers faculty are respected and fairly compensated will result in a better educational experience for students, educators, and staff.”

Nine other unions remain in negotiations with the university.

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