Rutgers University faculty reached a tentative agreement this week on a four-year contract that will provide increases of 3 percent in each of the first three years and 2.5 percent in the final year, officials announced.
The pact also establishes a “pay equity review process” under which faculty who document inequities based on gender, race, or other factors can request a salary adjustment.
“For the first time in our almost 50-year history, our union has made it possible for women and faculty of color to obtain pay equity,” the union told its members. “In short, we won provisions for equal pay for equal work, including for faculty in Camden and Newark earning less than comparable New Brunswick scholars.”
The tentative agreement was reached as the Rutgers AAUP-AFT union — which represents 4,800 full-time faculty and graduate students on Rutgers’ New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark campuses — considered calling a strike, which would have been its first. It still must be ratified by the union, said Vivian Fernández, the university’s senior vice president of human resources and organizational effectiveness. That could occur by the first week of May.
Also on Wednesday, Temple University faculty announced that they were beginning negotiations this week and that the administration had asked if the sides could attempt to reach an early settlement.
“We decided, for many reasons, that this could be in the best interest of our members, and that it was worth pursuing,” the Temple Association of University Professionals said in a bulletin to its members Wednesday.
The current pact expires Oct. 15. The union, which represents about 2,500 full- and part-time professors, and the administration will attempt to reach a pact by June 30, with potential extensions if both parties agree, said Steve Newman, union president.
At Rutgers, the tentative agreement is retroactive to July 1, 2018. Three of the annual faculty raises will be distributed across the board and one will be based on merit.
Average professor salaries at the New Brunswick campus in 2017 ranged from $61,799 for a lecturer to $148,347 for a full professor, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The agreement also includes market salary adjustments of $2,600 for teaching assistants and graduate assistants over the first two years, Fernandez said. It includes money for diversity hiring and allows non-tenure-track faculty to become eligible for longer-term appointments, the administration said.
“For the first time ever, NTTs have a grievance procedure that empowers them to challenge non-reappointments and decisions not to promote,” union leaders said, praising the new guidelines for non-tenure-track faculty.
The contract also for the first time will recognize “academic freedom” and applies to social media, the union said.