URA News: Membership has its Perks (Valentine’s Day Edition)

Contract Education:

The URA is committed to ensuring that our membership is well-versed in our contract and our rights.  To that end we are rolling out a series of Contract Education articles to help you understand the importance of our contract; how the various articles are beneficial to you, and when and how they are applicable.


What is the Difference Between Union Dues and Agency Fee?

Our union represents two different types of  employees.  One is a union member who pays dues and is a full member of the URA.  The other is a person who has not signed a membership card and is an “agency fee” employee.

Under the URA-AFT Constitution, Article X, dues have been set by the membership at 1.2% of your yearly straight time salary. For an average employee represented by the URA this translates into approximately $26.00 per pay period.  Those who have not signed a membership card pay 85% of the 1.2% dues rate.  For the average agency fee employee this translates to approximately $22.10 per pay period. [See http://uraaft.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ConstitutionFinal1.pdf]

Union dues are the life blood of our union.  Without dues, there would be no lost-time pay for negotiating committee members, no funds for training, no lawyers to pursue arbitrations, no one to turn to when you are unfairly treated or disciplined, and no trained representatives to take your side when things get bad.  You are simply at the mercy of your employer.

So what is the difference between being a full member or just paying the Agency Fee?

The following outlines the basic difference between joining the Union of Rutgers Administrators or paying the Agency Fee.

Read more here »

Defensive Driving Classes for URA Members

[by Christine O’Connell, Off Campus Chairperson]

We are proud to announce that off campus Community Assistants/Community Coordinators are finally getting to take the defensive driving class that was cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy on Monday, February 25, 2013!  This opportunity was originally negotiated for us because we drive from site to site as part of our jobs and put obscene amounts of mileage and wear and tear on our personal vehicles but weren’t allowed to take the defensive driving class on Rutgers time.  Our union heard our concerns and with the help of our Health and Safety committee, negotiated with our department head to allow us to have release time to take this very important class.  Some benefits to taking this class include how to be better drivers and the option to lower our insurance premiums and/or reduce the points that we may have on our licenses through an additional fee.

Also, because many of us have to travel from all parts of New Jersey in order to take the class in New Brunswick, URA-AFT will reimburse mileage for all those who attend and are full dues paying members.  They are also providing lunch for us as an extra incentive to get all who are still thinking about participating to go ahead and register for this class.

Read more here »

Video: The Cogan Family Rebuilds After Sandy

With the storm surge threatening their Union Beach neighborhood, Jessica and Patrick Cogan loaded up their three children (seven-year-old Declan, nine-year-old Miranda and 11-year-old Kevin) into the minivan to seek higher ground at a local school. The school then flooded (along with the Cogan minivan) necessitating another leg of evacuation.

Watch Video

Back home, the Cogan’s sedan also flooded, leaving the couple carless, lacking electricity and with more than four-feet of floodwater and sludge oozing through their finished basement. With the help of a neighbor’s generator and pool pumps, the couple got the water out and started cleaning.

Read more here»

Sandy Is Gone But Not Forgotten:

We Will Recover But Need To Do It Safely!

[by Joyce Sagi,  Health and Safety Chairperson]

The devastation caused by Superstorm that recorded high winds of over 80 mph, recorded 5 to 10 feet water surges and destruction; electrical fires, record power outages and death.

The storm caused widespread pollution of the Hudson and Raritan rivers, bays, and harbors by releasing a variety of toxic chemicals, including petroleum and fluids from cars and boats; contaminants from, roads, and parking lots; and contaminants washed from shoreline industrial sites, as well as commercial and residential buildings.

We have communities that will never be the same. People have lost their home, cars, jobs, and everything they own. Sandy is gone but the recovery is just beginning. This will involve environmental testing to include air, water, and soil sampling, cleanup, health monitoring, and citizen education, as part of the recovery and rebuilding efforts. Mold suppression is and will continue to be a problem, learn how to effectively, efficiently, and safely remediate mold.

Read more here »