NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Rutgers University has reached a truce with organized labor over a drive to unionize mid-level administrators.
Rutgers' deal with the American Federation of Teachers came weeks after Gov. Corzine chided the university administration over antiunion e-mails sent to employees.
Some of Corzine's fellow Democrats in the Legislature had threatened a cut in state funding to Rutgers if president Richard McCormick continued to fight the union, which wants to organize about 3,000 administrative, supervisory and professional employees.
"This removes any shadow of a doubt on campus that the university is going to remain neutral and the employees' decisions whether or not to form a union are protected," Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey AFL-CIO, told the Star-Ledger of Newark.
The agreement bars Rutgers from sending messages to employees that are critical of labor unions. Administrators said they would also refrain from monitoring employees or seeking information from them on the drive to unionize.
Organizers will have access to facilities at the New Brunswick, Newark and Camden campuses.
Meanwhile, union organizers promised not to disrupt educational functions at Rutgers, and to solicit union support in a manner that wasn't adversarial, without denigrating the university.
Rutgers and the American Federation of Teachers agreed to refrain from coercive tactics.
In a statement released Friday, McCormick described the agreement as "a positive step forward."
In an e-mail to nonunion workers the same day, McCormick told them to "feel free" to consider union representation.
"No member of the Rutgers staff should feel reticent about speaking openly about the union at work or displaying union paraphernalia in an appropriate way," the e-mail said.
Corzine spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the governor was pleased with the agreement and still planned to attend a workers' meeting on campus Wednesday.