Rutgers, faculty union reach tentative deal to avert strike

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Rutgers University officials have reached a tentative contract agreement with the school’s faculty union, avoiding what would have been the first faculty strike in the school's 253-year history.

The Rutgers AAUP-AFT union, which represents nearly 5,000 full-time faculty and graduate employees at the school, called the agreement a "historic and unprecedented accomplishment." The union called for gender equity pay and salary increases - especially for their lowest paid grad and teaching assistants. They also called for more diverse hiring.

Union members still have to vote to approve the deal, but ranking members tell News 12 New Jersey that they are happy with what has been negotiated. A ratification vote has not yet been scheduled.

RELATED: Rutgers faculty union holds rally to fight for salary demands 

Under the deal, all faculty will be able to apply for equity correction. Grad and teaching assistants will see a pay raise of just over $30,000 by the end of the contract period. Money has also been set aside to hire a more diverse teaching body.

AAUP-AFT leaders say that they will now fight for the more than 10,000 other workers who do not have a contract. This includes part-time lecturers, who get paid $5,200 per course.

“It’s appalling to charge that much in tuition and pay the instructors that little. That’s the other thing that’s outstanding. We want to crack the nut of tuition. That is something that was outside our contract,” says union vice president David Hughes. “We wanted to bargain. They resolutely refused but the unions, one of the major priorities that we're going to start working on…is to make Rutgers affordable."

Hughes says that bargaining for the workers without contracts will continue Wednesday and Thursday.

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