[URA members stand with the URA bargaining team outside of ASB II on September 23rd.]
On September 23, 2104, the URA Bargaining Team held its sixth bargaining session with Rutgers. To date, the URA is ahead of all the other staff unions in terms of the number of meetings held and number of tentative agreements. However, we are still behind in terms of settling a fair contract soon (one full month after our contract expired). We have had NO salary offer from RU, NO response to our job security/layoff proposals, NO response to our Health Insurance proposals. Rutgers proposed NO overtime for holidays, LESS call back pay, LESS vacation and sick time for new employees, and LESS tuition remission benefits.
We are coordinating with other Rutgers unions to ensure that we stand united on contract provisions that are common to everyone. While we have signed tentative agreements on six contract articles. We need you to participate in an upcoming action and to tell management:
“Stop trying to cut our benefits and start respecting our work with a fair salary.”
Upcoming Actions — Join Us!
Join other Rutgers union members at the Reclaim Rutgers tailgate booth on College Avenue to spread the word before the big game. We will be educating visitors about our fight for a fair contract through leafleting and discussion. Please volunteer now.
When: 3 – 6 pm, Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Where: Second Reformed Church (front lawn),100 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ
Parking: Free parking at 11 Stone Street or Rutgers Mine Street lots
URA Morning Tailgate for Solidarity (free breakfast):
Meet in the parking lot to support the URA bargaining team before each bargaining session.
When: 7 – 9 am, Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Where: Rutgers ASB 2 Parking Lot, 57 Route 1 South, New Brunswick
Parking: Free. No permit required.
Every Vote Counts – Our Vote Counts
#URArocksthevote #Reclaimtheballotbox #Occupytheballotbox
Are you registered to vote at your current address? Check this link to find out.
If you are not registered to vote at your current address, please download the two sided postage paid form here.
R U Running for Office?
Are you running for an elected office in New Jersey? If you are a URA signed member and running for office please fill out the URA-AFT Local #1766 local candidate survey (this link) and return to COPE@ura-aft.org ASAP. Read more here>>
Walk, Talk, or Pay
URA-AFT #1766 is promoting 100% participation in the Committee on Political Education (“COPE”) activities this year. We are adopting the “Walk, Talk, or Pay” model to permit all members to be involved on a level that they are comfortable with.
Join COPE and Citizenship Rutgers in Volunteering at a Community Citizenship Day Event
Volunteers are needed to help work with eligible legal residents in completing the N-400 Form. For those people who are not familiar with the N-400 form, an experienced Immigration attorney will provide the necessary training. Read more here>>
Name: Dorothy J. Grauer
Title: Library Associate II
Department: Inter-Library Services
Number of Years at Rutgers: 26 years
Residence Town: Trenton
Residence County: Mercer
List of Union Activities Involved in: Vice-President of Newark Campus; URA Executive Board; Organizing Committee; C.O.P.E. Committee; Bargaining Committee
Why is being a URA-AFT full dues paying member important? Being a full dues paying member is important to ensure that each member is treated fairly by the university at all levels. Whether it is securing wages owed to a member or dealing with unreasonable or unsafe work demands, having an active union standing WITH you makes a tremendous difference.
Why should URA AFT members care about this year’s contract negotiations? Everyone comes to work and gives their best to the university every day. In exchange, we all want to be paid fairly, treated fairly and we want to be sure that our benefits are the best that can be obtained – - now and when we retire. None of these things happen automatically. It is ONLY through the efforts of the union during contract negotiations that we obtain these things.
Why did you volunteer to be a part of the URA-AFT Contract Committee? I volunteered to serve on the Contract Committee because it deals with the meat-and-bone issues that truly matter to every member. The Agreement that we negotiate will directly affect the salary, benefits and job protection of every member for years to come.
Need to Contact Dorothy About an Issue on the Newark Campus or Have a Question/Thought About the URA AFT Contract: email@example.com or (973) 353-5902.
Name: Shahida Khaliq
Title: Coordinator for AFT and AT
Department: Office of Disability Services
Number of Years at Rutgers: 5 years
Residence Town: Plainsboro
Residence County: Middlesex County
List of Union Activities Involved in: Building Representative
Why is being a URA-AFT full dues paying member important?
- Need to be heard, and being a full dues paying member is the best avenue
- The more of us there are, the more likely we are to be heard
- Show solidarity for one another
- The union is here for us; we should be there for the union
Why should URA AFT members care about this year’s contract negotiations?
- So that member concerns are addressed
- It’s not just this year, but every time our contract comes up to be renegotiated, we should be a major part of the final product. We can’t be the bride who has no say in the design of her wedding dress.
- We are Rutgers; therefore, Rutgers Management has to negotiate with us to make a contract that is agreeable to all
- Raises have to come back on the table, it is disheartening working hard, getting a good work review but having no reward, no acknowledgment in the form of a raise especially in these hard times
- The contract helps to answer any confusion that may exist, such as with overtime, comp time, etc.
Why did you volunteer to be a part of the URA-AFT Contract Committee? I thought it was important to be a part of the negotiations; to show my support for the union, as well as being a part of something that makes a difference.
Need to Contact Shahida About an Issue on the Livingston Campus OR Have a Question/Thought About the URA AFT Contract: firstname.lastname@example.org or (848) 445-6800.
Name: Tracy A. Swan, MPA, MCJ
Title: Sr. Project Coordinator
Department: The Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs
Number of Years at Rutgers: 10 years
Residence Town: Newfield
Residence County: Gloucester County
List of Union Activities Involved in: Vice President, Camden Campus; Steward; Building Representative; Contract Committee
Why is being a URA-AFT full dues paying member important?
- Have a voice AND a vote on important URA-AFT matters
- Being a part of something bigger than just your job, your department, even your campus
- Demonstrating support for all URA AFT employees and their issues in the workplace
- It’s just the right thing to do!
Why should URA AFT members care about this year’s contract negotiations?
- Broken Performance Review System
- Resolving Overtime/Comp Time Confusion
- Sets the tone for URA AFT for future negotiations
- Our contract is the promise Rutgers makes to URA AFT members and needs to be FAIR
Why did you volunteer to be a part of the URA-AFT Contract Committee? I wanted to make sure the Camden Campus was represented at the table for these negotiations.
Need to Contact Tracy About an Issue on the Livingston Campus OR Have a Question/Thought About the URA AFT Contract: email@example.com or (856) 225-6705
By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer, The Record.
Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi on Friday said things are on the upswing and predicted bigger-than-expected payouts from the school’s participation in the Big Ten athletic conference — even as he was forced to again defend his controversial pick for athletic director.
Barchi’s annual State of the University address in New Brunswick came on the heels of news reports that Athletic Director Julie Hermann had made a tasteless remark about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal during a staff meeting last year.
Barchi seemed unconcerned about the remarks, saying they were “off the cuff.” He expressed confidence in Hermann’s leadership, which has been marked by some high-profile verbal miscues since her arrival last year.
As Barchi spoke, about 50 members of unions representing nearly 20,000 Rutgers faculty and staff who are without a contract protested outside on College Avenue. The groups said they are coming off a three-year salary freeze that was coupled with increases in the amounts paid for medical insurance premiums.
Adrienne Eaton, of the Rutgers chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said the group has been offered raises of 1 percent for each of the next two years, followed by 1.25 percent in the third year.
“A lot of people are questioning [Rutgers'] priorities,” said Nat Bender, communications director with the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey. He said academics are suffering as resources are channeled to athletics.
By Erin Petenko
In the Q&A period, David Hughes, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, said Barchi’s claim that faculty are the “heart and soul” of the University was not reflected in their salaries.
He said the median salary for full professors is in the 91st percentile, while salaries for associate professors are in the 94th percentile. Salaries for assistant professors were in the mid-range, 50th to 60th percentile.
In response to a question about retaining faculty and raising salaries, Barchi said he was trying to be responsive. But he could not guarantee anything.
“Every time you ask me to do something, I have to not do something else,” he said.
During the protest, Hughes said the funding for professors’ salaries should come from the University’s spending on athletics.
Hughes also challenged Rutgers’ spending on athletics, which he said also endangers students’ brain health.
“I believe that we’re not so cynical to exploit these young men’s bodies for profit,” he said. “Why are we doing this? Why are we putting their bodies, their cognitive abilities, at risk?”
He pointed to football head coach Kyle Flood’s recent contract extension as an example of overspending. Meanwhile, Rutgers cut the library budget for new books and databases.
Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, said many union members are taking home less than they did in 2008 when they factor in health care and pension costs. They have had a salary freeze for the past two years.
Rutgers has more than 15,000 staff members, including dining hall workers, library staff and the staff of academic departments, according to Rutgers official website.
The $1 billion Rutgers holds in reserve is the result of pay cuts to staff members, she said.
“That money was stolen from our pockets,” she said.
Stephen Moorman, associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is frustrated that Rutgers continues to refer to him and other faculty as “legacy [University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey]” staff members rather than full Rutgers professors.
The faculty at RBHS is negotiating separately for their contract with Rutgers. They are fighting over the compensation system, which Rutgers says should be based on productivity.
But Rutgers defines productivity in terms of numbers – the number of published works, the number of classes they teach or the amount they bring in for the clinic, he said.
The definition does not include the work they do outside of the office to prepare, or the value they bring teaching students in the clinic.
“The administration wants to computerize everything,” he said.
By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer, The Record.
Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand – paralyzed in a 2010 tackle during a game – is appearing in a video released on Thursday in support of unionized workers who are bargaining for new contracts with the university.
”I hope the university will do the right thing and get these hard-working men and women the fair pay and decent benefits they deserve and have earned,” LeGrand said in the 30-second clip on YouTube.
LeGrand has been an ambassador for the university since his injury, making numerous public appearances. He credited the dedicated faculty and staff for helping him graduate after the devastating injury prevented him from attending classes.
Watch the video here.
Ahead of Barchi State Of Rutgers Speech,“Reclaim Rutgers” Releases Video & Holds Rally
(New Brunswick, NJ) – Today, on the eve of President Robert Barchi’s State of the University address, former Scarlet Knights football player and Rutgers alumnus Eric LeGrand released a video in support of Reclaim Rutgers – a dynamic coalition representing unionized workers in tough contract negotiations with management. Tomorrow, immediately before Barchi speaks, faculty, staff, students, alumni and other allies will hold a rally at 12:30 p.m. echoing LeGrand’s call for fair contracts.
You can view the LeGrand video at http://youtu.be/LcAel-IQfS8
“Just like in football, where everyone has a role to play, Rutgers succeeds because of its tremendous team of top-notch faculty and staff,” said Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed playing football for the university and credits faculty and staff with helping him graduate. ”I hope the University will do the right thing and get these hard-working men and women the fair pay and decent benefits they deserve and have earned.”
In the 30-second clip, LeGrand details how – through video calls, emails and phone calls – Rutgers workers assisted him in getting ahead in life. LeGrand often speaks about how he learned an enormous amount from his professors – many of whom went beyond the call of duty to help him succeed after he was severely injured and unable to attend classes.
Unions representing more than 20,000 workers are currently in contract talks with the university. Reclaim Rutgers and its allies are calling on Barchi and Rutgers to:
*Tackle student debt – by making tuition more affordable
*Respect faculty and staff – by bargaining in good faith for fair contracts immediately
*Restore public funding – by working with students, faculty, staff and the community to demand increased advocacy from management for more funding
*Focus on fundamentals. Teaching, research, service and patient care are all core parts of Rutgers mission. The university should stop diverting precious dollars from this core mission to subsidize athletics
“The very same week Rutgers guaranteed the football coach a $3.4 million raise, management offered faculty what amounts to a pay cut, while refusing to pay for library fees that amount to less than one-third the coach’s raise,” said Deepa Kumar, Associate Professor, Journalism and Media Studies. “This is a gross example of management’s skewed priorities.”
“Our members lost millions of dollars in pay from Rutgers ‘salary freezes’ between 2009 and now,” said Darlene Smith, Exec VP Union of Rutgers Administrators-AFT staff union. “On top of that, we’re paying thousands more each year to our health insurance and pension plans. As a result, we’re taking home less in our paychecks than we did in 2008. As a Rutgers alumna and long-time dedicated worker, I’m extremely disappointed with the hard-line that university management is taking in contract negotiations. We are taking action to reclaim Rutgers from management’s misplaced priorities.”
“As a result of the UMDNJ merger, Rutgers University’s mission now includes healthcare and depends on those professionals who provide cutting-edge research, community services and quality care to our communities,” said Bernie Gerard, VP of Health Professionals & Allied Employees (HPAE). “If Dr. Barchi wants Rutgers to be a premier healthcare university, he must provide the same support, resources and commitment to such care that he does to Big Ten Football. That means listening to the voices of the healthcare experts in our current contract negotiations and working conditions that will enable Rutgers to recruit and retain the best staff.”
Tomorrow at 12:30 pm – immediately before President Barchi’s Address to the University Senate – a large group of Rutgers faculty, staff, students, alumni and allies will join together at the College Avenue Student Center in New Brunswick. They will be speaking out in support of fair contracts. While Barchi talks about how the State of the University is strong, Reclaim Rutgers will make sure he’s reminded it is the faculty and staff who make Rutgers the top-notch institution that New Jersey deserves. Barchi and the Board of Governors should respect these workers and come to the bargaining table in good faith.
You can sign the Reclaim Rutgers petition at www.ReclaimRutgers.org. Additionally, you can follow @ReclaimRutgers on twitter, and like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/reclaimrutgers. And, again, you can view the Eric LeGrand video at http://youtu.be/LcAel-IQfS8
We write to you as the leaders of unions representing some 20,000 Rutgers employees. Like you, we have been elected by our constituents to represent their interests and needs. Like you, we have a mutual interest in making Rutgers an outstanding university for all our constituents.
At this time, we want to bring your attention to the state of labor relations at the University. As a result of the Rutgers-UMDNJ merger, some 31 bargaining units now exist within Rutgers. Of those, 28 are now negotiating new collective bargaining agreements. Unique conditions have resulted from the merger, and from Rutgers 2009-2011 “salary freeze” on unionized staff and faculty:
- RBHS faculty in the legacy UMDNJ units and over 1,000 house staff physicians now employed by Rutgers have worked without a contract, and without a raise for over 5 years.
- Legacy Rutgers faculty and staff are now paid at the levels which were originally negotiated for 2011. Those groups have yet to make up for the loss of pay from the “salary freeze”.
- The increases to employee contributions to health insurance and pensions under the 2010 legislation have resulted in net loss of earnings as compared to 2008. We are taking home less than we did in 2008.