FAQ’s about URA-AFT
Q. What is the Union of Rutgers Administrators?
A. The Union of Rutgers Administrators is a group of 2,000 administrative workers who joined the American Federation of Teachers, the largest union of higher education employees in New Jersey, to form URA—AFT.
Q. What is the AFT?
A. The American Federation of Teachers is the largest union in higher education and a strong union of professional workers. Uniting with more than 35,000 professional workers in New Jersey and more than 1.5 million nationwide in AFT gives our voice tremendous power. For more information, see www.aft.org
Q. Are any other administrative and supervisory staff unionized in New Jersey?
A. Yes, in fact, almost all higher education staff around the state have unions. The AFT Council of New Jersey State College Locals represents professional staffers at The College of New Jersey, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University and the A. Harry Moore School, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Richard Stockton College, Rowan University, Thomas Edison State College and William Paterson University are all represented by AFT and these schools did not suffer the same extent of layoffs as Rutgers did. See their contracts at www.cnjscl.org/Prof_Staff.htm.
Q. My position is funded through a grant. Can I still be in the union and have a contract?
A. Yes. Many unionized workers are grant funded. There are provisions specific to grant funded workers that are negotiated in our contact.
Q.How much are union dues?
A. Membership dues are set by the membership at 1.2% of salary.
Q. Where do my union dues go?
A. The majority of membership dues stay at the local level. The membership dues that go on to the state and national level are used for supporting the local’s needs i.e. grievance trainings, professional development, research departments, etc.
Q. What do URA-AFT members do?
A. URA-AFT members work in academic offices help advise, mentor and direct students. Others conduct research to improve community services, social programs or agriculture. The union represents members in the university’s external relations, communications and recreation departments as well as budget and financial service workers. From conducting nutrition and agricultural lessons for children and parents to administering economic development programs, the union’s members are making a significant contribution to the greater society.
Q. When did the union form?
A. Under New Jersey state card check legislation similar to the proposed Employee Free Choice Act approximately 1,900 workers considered “administrative” at Rutgers University voted to unionize June 7, 2007 and affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.
Q. What has the union accomplished?
• December, 2007: URA-AFT administrative unit members approved a strong four-year contract with a combination of across-the-board and merit pay increases, enhanced job security and a binding arbitration process.
• May, 2008: URA-AFT’s Legislative Committee played a key role in the development of and successful advocacy for New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave legislation. This progressive legislation will offer paid time off for a parent to bond with a new baby or adopted child or for a caretaker to tend to a sick or injured family member in a time of crisis. The legislation will take effect on January 1, 2009.
• July, 2008: The American Federation of Teachers presented URA-AFT its higher education militancy award for vigorous advocacy on behalf of its members.
• September-November, 2008: URA-AFT members join in labor walks, phone banks and rallies to help elect new President and more labor-friendly congressional delegations members in New Jersey.
• March-June 2009: URA-AFT members advocated successfully for restoration of stable
higher education funding from New Jersey’s federal stimulus allocation