Rutgers University employees will not get scheduled raises this year. According to an article by Kelly Heyboer in the Star-Ledger

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.”

Rutgers University President Richard McCormick earned $550,000 in 2009. The average laborer or clerical worker at Rutgers earns $36,000 a year. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer