TRENTON - Two thousand midlevel administrators at Rutgers University came closer yesterday to forming a labor union after a majority signed cards supporting the creation of the Union of Rutgers Administrators-American Federation of Teachers, said Nat Bender, a business school outreach worker on the organizing committee.

The cards - signed by administrative assistants, researchers, agriculture workers and outreach workers - were to be turned in to the New Jersey Public Employees Relations Commission, Bender said. Under state law, the commission would need to verify the cards and organizing unit and investigate any possible challenges from the university. The process will likely take weeks. The university pledged to cooperate fully with the filing of the cards, Rutgers spokesman Greg Trevor said.

Efforts are also under way to to place 1,000 additional Rutgers workers under union representation, Bender said. - AP