Rutgers staff shut out of presidential search committee, union says

The search for the next Rutgers University president is underway. There is only one problem: 13,000 unionized staff have been shut out of the 23-member search committee. Executives from Rutgers governing boards and management have 10 seats; faculty have 11; and students have two. The exclusion is deliberate and part of a long-term pattern of Rutgers management disregarding staff.


Management is claiming that the two vice-presidents on the committee represent staff. That is incorrect. According to state law (New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act), as managerial executives, they do not represent bargaining-unit employees. They formulate and direct management policies and practices, and so they represent the employer, along with governing board officials. Rutgers executives are equivalent to corporate CEOs and vice-presidents, in effect, the Company Boss.


Finance Vice President John Michael Gower and Academic Vice President Barbara Lee preside over 15 to 25 high-ranking executives. They both earn six-figure salaries like the rest of senior management— deans, directors, chancellors, and provosts. None of them are front-line, department-level staff.

For more about the top-heavy, unnecessary layers of Rutgers executives with bloated and exorbitant salaries, go to: Rutgers organizational charts. Ask yourself this question when looking at the charts: What, exactly, do these people do? These executives receive annual bonuses in the tens of thousands of dollars. To see more, go to: Rutgers handed out $5.5 million in ‘incentive’ bonuses last year. Here’s who got the fattest checks. — NJ.com


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URA Calls for Staff Representation on Presidential Search

Catherine Carrera, North Jersey Record


Lucye Millerand, Executive Vice President of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, speaks to the Presidential Search Committee on September 12, 2019. Michael Karas, NorthJersey

Gregory Rusciano, the director of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, said he and the union members he represents want a new president with strong labor relations experience. Unionized staff who spoke at the town halls expressed displeasure that they have no representation on the search committee, and also said they wanted a new leader who would prioritize relationships with staff members.

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Kathryn Neal, Steward of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, speaks to the Presidential Search Committee during a Town Hall meeting at Livingston Hall in Piscataway on Thursday, September 12, 2019. (Photo: Michael Karas/NorthJersey.com)

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Millions in raises and retro pay

URA-AFT members have received millions of dollars in raises and retroactive pay as our new union contract was implemented over the month of July.

A 3% across-the-board raise was provided to all who were bargaining unit members on June 13.  Retroactive pay going back as far as July 1, 2018 was paid in the July 12th to all 12- month employees.  Those in 10-month jobs will receive their retroactive pay when they return to work in September.

As of late July, URA reps have learned of one union member who did not receive retro pay for no observable reason.  That case was resolved at the first step of the grievance procedure.  A more complicated situation for certain members who have been on medical leave is being addressed through the grievance procedure.

The second raise, an additional 3% across-the-board was paid in the July 26 paycheck.  Again, only a handful of members have reported miscalculations of their raises. URA reps are working with members who experience problems in the July 26 paycheck.

Our contract for FY 19 and 20 really maximizes the amount that goes into our overall pay”, stated URA President, Christine O’Connell.” Because the top of each grade increases, we no longer see members who receive bonuses instead of raises to base salary.  And because the eligibility for the raises falls so close to the date of the payment, we don’t see the problem of new members having to wait over a year for their first raise.  That was a problem before the URA was organized, and it can be a problem for people who start work in a year with a merit raise.  We still hear about this happening to the MPSC employees who don’t have a union contract.”

URA will join other Rutgers unions back at the bargaining table later this summer to provide even greater take-home pay through negotiations on the cost of health insurance.

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