More Budget Woes
by Daniel Luzer
Rutgers will cancel scheduled pay raises and freeze the salaries of its 13,000 employees as it faces an “extreme fiscal crisis” brought on by state budget cuts, school officials said today.
“Our union colleagues are concerned,” said Philip Furmanski, Rutgers’ executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are in a very, very difficult situation. One that is unprecedented.”
New Jersey, like many other states, is dealing with a massive budget crisis this year. While the Garden State has been cutting funding for state universities for more than ten years, with the 15 percent budget cut to Rutgers announced by Republican Governor Chris Christie in March, Rutgers found itself nearly $97 million short.
The wage freezes apply to all faculty and staff at Rutgers. Some 80 percent of employees belong to labor unions. Union officials at the school plan to meet with lawyers to discuss possible challenges to the university’s decision.
Last year many Rutgers unions agreed to defer raises in a voluntary effort to keep the university afloat and prevent layoffs.
Rutgers says it is not required to honor the contract because, according to the article, of “a little-used provision in the contracts that says the university does not have to give raises if the school doesn’t have the money to cover the payroll.”