Did you receive your new URA button yet? Contact your steward and be ready for alerts to wear your buttons on bargaining days.
The URA bargaining team is advocating on your behalf and working diligently on contract language that protects your job and improves your working conditions. URA has proposed contract language based on careful review of your input at meetings and through surveys. URA contracts are also based on our grievance, layoff, and discipline history. Finally, we are coordinating with other Rutgers unions to ensure contract language is fair and consistent as much as possible. Unfortunately, because Rutgers’ management team has refused to schedule more frequent bargaining sessions, discussion of your salaries has not yet occurred. URA is prepared to bargain for a fair salary and benefits package that offsets the hardship caused by recent salary freezes and health care increases. The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for August 28th and September 9th. The difference between what’s fair and what we actually receive will depend on your collective voice and standing in solidarity with your URA bargaining team. Please register for the following calls to action:
- Morning solidarity tailgate (New Brunswick) – August 28 or September 9th
- Campus leafleting (all campuses) – September 2nd or 3rd
As a result of our ongoing interactions with the US Department of Labor on the issue of unpaid overtime for eligible “NE” members the URA was invited to send representatives to a round table on overtime “exempt” employees held by Deputy Director of Wage and Hour enforcement, Laura Fortman.
Carmen Valverde was one of the URA participants in the Employee Roundtable.
Our participation in the meeting with the Department of Labor was a unique and very interesting experience. I became aware of people working in other professions that are also abused by employers requiring them to work hours for which they are not paid. It reminded me of the horrible working conditions at the beginning of the 20th century. People were over-worked, under-paid, and considered expendable. The employers’ attitudes were, “If you don’t like it, there are 100 people out there waiting to take your job!
I am happy that President Obama saw this issue as something that needed his attention and is taking action. I was very impressed by the representatives from the Department of Labor. They seemed to be VERY interested in hearing our stories and gaining an understanding of our situation. They asked relevant questions, listened attentively, and recorded the meeting so they would have a permanent record of what people said.
This experience and opportunity to be heard by US government officials made me glad that I supported the formation of the URA-AFT. It was worth the effort. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be heard by people who could actually DO something to correct the abusive situation. Time will tell, if labor reforms are activated.
URA members who are overtime-exempt “NL” and want to provide input to the US Department of Labor on the real-life impact of exemption from overtime protection can contact. URA President Lucye Millerand: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know more about YOUR URA-AFT Contract Committee? Here are a few profiles of members:
Title: Custodial Supervisor
Number of Years at Rutgers: 30 years
Residence Town: North Brunswick
Residence County: Middlesex County
List of Union Activities Involved in: Shop Steward for the URA-AFT, Local1766
Why is being a URA-AFT full dues paying member important? It’s a comfort knowing that someone has your back in times of need.
Why should URA AFT members care about this year’s contract negotiations? Because the contract is about the people in the URA AFT.
Need to Contact Perry About an Issue on the Cook/Douglass Campus OR Have a Question/Thought About the URA AFT Contract: email@example.com or (732) 932-7308.
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.
URA Union Brothers and Sisters! Join AFT-Rutgers for our
LABOR DAY PICNIC
Monday, September 1, 2014, 1:30 – 6 pm
Rutgers Gardens/Log Cabin Pavilion, 112 Ryders Ln., New Brunswick, NJ
Food, Fun, Music, Games
Bargaining Today: Support your URA Team
The URA bargaining team will be negotiating with Rutgers again today. It will be the third session and URA will present six additional proposals pertaining to working conditions and benefits. To date, Rutgers has not provided any proposals or counter proposals. Today will be an indicator of how serious Rutgers is about negotiating with us. This will come in the form of their proposals and their responses to ours. Show solidarity with your bargaining team today by wearing your union button all day. Be sure to seek out your union steward or building representative for a button and to obtain the latest information about negotiations.
Bargaining Team & Contract Committee Profile Series
Want to know more about YOUR URA-AFT Contract Committee? Here are a few profiles of its members:
Title: Senior Administrative Assistant
Department: Office of Academic Services
School: School of Arts and Sciences
Campus: Busch Campus
Number of Years at Rutgers: 9 years
Residence Town: Edison
Residence County: Middlesex County
List of Union Activities Involved in: Lead Steward at Busch Campus, Grievance Committee, Executive Board Member, Bargaining Team Member
Why is being a URA-AFT full dues paying member important? Simply put, full dues paying members understand that they have a voice in their employment conditions and that voice is strengthened by high percentages of active, full dues paying members. It is a clear signal to management that we are together in our endeavor to make our lives better every day. Yes, it is a daily struggle to keep what we have and get more of what we want, but to give up that struggle is to not care about yourself or others around you. You are already part of this Union. Your level of activity is up to you. So sign up!
Why should URA AFT members care about this year’s contract negotiations? URA members should care about every contract we negotiate. The terms and conditions of employment we negotiate spell out how business is handled within our membership and it could be greatly different from others who work at the University. We had one of the strongest first contracts the state has ever seen, but there is always room for improvement. Management thinks we don’t want or need anything more than what we have. We beg to differ. Management has used loopholes in many ways to work around goals we negotiated for. By tightening up our contract language, we can better ensure we get what we negotiate for. But remember, we get it much faster with an ACTIVE membership! You don’t all have to be stewards, but you should show support in other ways. Ask your steward how!
Why did you volunteer to be a part of the URA-AFT Contract Committee? As a steward, I have seen the many ways our contract works and where improvements need to be made. I feel my background of a B.A. in Philosophy and Masters of Human Resources Management degrees (both from Rutgers) support the content matter and direction needed to negotiate on behalf of a diverse population of Rutgers employees. I recognize that while no one is obligated to do so, by contributing to an organization of members with common purpose my voice has meaning and for better or worse, it is our legacy.
Need to Contact Eric About an Issue on the Busch Campus OR Have a Question/Thought About the URA AFT Contract: email@example.com or (848)-445-8888.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 353-5902.
A group of URA-AFT members joined Rutgers AAUP-AFT to leaflet Rutgers celebration of entrance into the Big Ten Tuesday, July 1.
Rutgers University celebrates entry into Big Ten Conference
A group called Rutgers One, comprising faculty, students and alumni, handed out fliers outside the stadium warning that Rutgers was diverting too much money to athletics.
“Decisions by Rutgers’ management to divert funds from our core mission to cover the deficits in athletics are hurting students who came here to get a world-class education,” said Lisa Klein, president of the Rutgers Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers.
The URA bargaining team will meet with Rutgers’ bargaining team Thursday, June 26. “While we have asked Rutgers management to schedule bargaining dates since April, it has not agreed to schedule any additional dates at this time,” said URA-AFT Director Greg Rusciano, who will function as lead negotiator. “Rutgers also rejected our proposal to set up a standing schedule for bargaining sessions such as twice per week. URA remains available to meet with Rutgers at any time—day or night. Our members expect that Rutgers management will engage in a productive first bargaining session and any future sessions will be productive.”
Rutgers management regime viewed our contract as just a piece of paper when they cast out wages freezes without hard number justifications. They view our work force as expendable increasing the number of PTLs instead of investing in our full time faculty. They view our students as after thoughts abruptly ending the federally funded work study program this past Spring with one week’s notice. It’s aggravating to watch as more vice presidents and higher management with inflated salaries are added to the ranks. It’s frustrating to watch my colleagues lose their jobs. It’s demoralizing to feel that my union contract is viewed as nothing more a piece of paper without value or purpose.
I am a Mom who works full time. My husband has unpredictable chronic illness and I am the higher wage earner in our home. Working for me is necessary for the survival of my family. I took a position at Rutgers over a private industry position in 2005 for stability. I knew in such financially turbulent times Rutgers was a safer bet than must private industries and that Rutgers included benefits unmatchable at the time to most employers. Additionally, I knew the support I would provide to Rutgers would be far more impactful and rewarding.
When my fellow unrepresented workers and I organized and ratified a union contract, I felt even more secure in my decision to be a part of the Rutgers community. In 2010 when RU decided that wage freezes would be necessary I, being a team player, was willing to accept a short term setback in my personal budget. However, as time passed, prices went up and my bills increased it was clear that taking one for the Rutgers team was catastrophic.
Being a small family of modest means who budgeted based on expected, promised, income it hurt us financially when Rutgers broke that promise. And while time passed and a deal to reinstate some of the promised wages came the damage was already done to my family. Bills have mounted, stress has increased and like many of us at Rutgers my family has to do more with less.
In addition to completely throwing off my family’s financial stability by having to do without a promised increase coupled with rising living costs on every front, we could not pay all of our bills. Being a “pull ourselves up by our boot straps kind of family” we decided to take on second jobs. This helped financially but the strains it put on us, our children and our support system were difficult. While my personal struggle stings, what gnaws at me is the idea that despite a written contract, a written promise Rutgers cried poverty and asked the very people who run this university to carry the burden. “We are broke,” they cried. Departments were told do more with less. Think of the students. Wrong! We learned from an in-depth budget review that Rutgers was flush. They were busy funding athletic programs, paying large sums of overtime to roll out the new phases of RIAS and making contracts like that with Pearson. All this while telling schools and programs to cut their budgets forcing small entities within the Rutgers community to pull resources, cut job lines and lower expectations.
I want to believe that Rutgers will do things differently this time. I want to believe that Rutgers will work with all of us in good faith on a mutually agreeable contract. I have to believe this because my family cannot with stand another broken promise by Rutgers.
Ginny Caputo is the Senior Administrative Assistant in the Anthropology Department and New Brunswick Campus Vice President of URA-AFT. Do you have a message to share about why we need a fair contract? Reply back to this message to submit your thoughts for the next newsletter.