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August Bargaining Update and Solidarity for Rutgers Workers

August 2018 Bargaining Update:

On August 13th, the URA bargaining team met with Rutgers management for our 10th meeting.

Management has proposed:

  • FY19: No increase
  • FY20: .5% Merit Pool with a range of distribution of .25%-.75%
  • FY21: No increase
  • FY22: .5% Merit Pool with a range of distribution of .25%-.75% Their proposal for TOTAL salary improvements over the next 4 years is 1.0%
  • Increases to cost of meals Dining Services MUST pay
  • Remove Step 1 and 2 from our Grievance Procedure
  • Delete the Non-Hostile Workplace article from our contract
  • Require use of FMLA concurrent with sick time

We have presented our Salary Improvements proposal which includes:

  • FY19: Across-the-Board Raise with Lump Sum. Same amount for all members
  • FY20: Across-the Board Percentage Raise
  • Equity pool to bring members with more than 5 years’ service to midpoint
  • Lump-sum rebate to defray cost of health insurance
  • FY21: Across-the-Board Percentage Raise
  • Merit pool for members who “Meet Standards” (in unit on first business day of the year)
  • Lump-sum rebate to defray cost of health insurance
  • FY22: Across-the-Board Percentage Raise
  • Equity pool to bring members with more than 15 years’ service to top of range
  • Merit pool for members who “Meet Standards”
  • Lump sum rebate to defray cost of health insurance

Read more here


Scandals and SNAFUs: Rutgers Needs Accountable Leadership

From Rutgers AAUP-AFT; posted on August 3, 2018 by swolf

Dear Colleague,

We’re sending this message mid-summer because there have been so many scandals and SNAFUs that impact us. We are deeply concerned about the lack of accountable leadership at Rutgers. The high volume of summer communications from faculty to our union office suggests that many of you are equally distressed.

We are very concerned by the sudden resignation of Chancellor Dutta after barely a year in that position. We would like to know the nature of the disagreements about the university’s future between him and President Barchi. In our brief interactions with Chancellor Dutta, it appeared that he was open to working with our union around a number of shared goals to make Rutgers a truly great public university. For instance, he spoke of freezing—and even lowering—undergraduate tuition and fees. However, tuition went up
by 2.3% this year. We want to know, for the benefit of our members and students, what constituted the clash of visions between Chancellor Dutta and President Barchi.

Read more here


Rutgers Must Stop Huge Payouts to Booted Coaches and Officials, Lawmakers Say

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are criticizing Rutgers University for spending millions on payouts to former coaches and officials who stepped down early or were booted from their jobs.

One influential Democrat said Tuesday she’ll call for a Senate hearing unless University President Robert Barchi can give her an explanation for the decisions.

Rutgers is playing fast and loose with taxpayer money,” Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, said Tuesday. “Whose money do they think they’re throwing around here?”

Read more here


Upcoming Events

URA Bargaining Update Meeting

August 16 @ 12:15 pm — 1:30 pm EDT

Room 346, Conklin Hall, Newark Campus

*****

URA-AFT Workshop: Understanding the Reclassification Process 102

August 22 @ 5:00 pm — 7:00 pm EDT

Room 122, Center for Law and Justice, Newark Campus


Report Back from 2018 AFT Convention

Sticking with the UnionThis year the AFT’s annual convention was held July 12-July 16, 2018 in the city of Pittsburgh, PA. Our motto this year was “We Care. We Fight. We Show Up…And We Vote.”

URA sent six dedicated members to represent our union.URA Delegates at AFT 2018 Convention
Livingston Campus lead steward Leigh-Anne Cobb wrote about her experience attending convention:

New 2018 URA DelegatesAs a first time delegate, I am now confidently prepared with examples and tools for meaningful conversations and outreach to our members. By serving on the Labor and the Economy Committee at the convention, I was able to witness first hand the dedication, authenticity and engagement I hope to attain “to continue the work of building membership and crafting a sure future for the union.”

Read more here


Striking Workers Can Now Get Unemployment Benefits In New Jersey

Updated Aug 12; Posted Aug 10 by Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Verizon workers on strike picket outside the company's Robbinsville location in August 2016.(Michael Mancuso | For NJ.com )

Verizon workers on strike picket outside the company’s Robbinsville location in August 2016.(Michael Mancuso | For NJ.com )

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a law allowing striking workers to collect unemployment benefits in New Jersey.

State lawmakers first proposed the legislation two years ago as Verizon workers waged a six-week strike against the telecommunications giant’s contract demands. About 4,600 of the 40,000 East Coast employees on strike worked in New Jersey.

Read more here

August 2018 Bargaining Update:

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On August 13th, the URA bargaining team met with Rutgers management for our 10th meeting.

Management has proposed:

  • FY19: No increase
  • FY20: .5% Merit Pool with a range of distribution of .25%-.75%
  • FY21: No increase
  • FY22: .5% Merit Pool with a range of distribution of .25%-.75% Their proposal for TOTAL salary improvements over the next 4 years is 1.0%
  • Increases to cost of meals Dining Services MUST pay
  • Remove Step 1 and 2 from our Grievance Procedure
  • Delete the Non-Hostile Workplace article from our contract
  • Require use of FMLA concurrent with sick time

We have presented our Salary Improvements proposal which includes:

  • FY19: Across-the-Board Raise with Lump Sum. Same amount for all members
  • FY20: Across-the Board Percentage Raise
  • Equity pool to bring members with more than 5 years’ service to midpoint
  • Lump-sum rebate to defray cost of health insurance
  • FY21: Across-the-Board Percentage Raise
  • Merit pool for members who “Meet Standards” (in unit on first business day of the year)
  • Lump-sum rebate to defray cost of health insurance
  • FY22: Across-the-Board Percentage Raise
  • Equity pool to bring members with more than 15 years’ service to top of range
  • Merit pool for members who “Meet Standards”
  • Lump sum rebate to defray cost of health insurance

We have also presented our Salary Adjustments proposal including:

  • In-Grade upgrades available for equity within department
  • Self-initiated requests for In-Grade upgrades
  • Promotion increases: add 5% if work week increases from 37.5 to 40 hours
  • Promotion increases: add 10% if status changes from NE to NL

When will we get the raise we deserve?  It’s up to you:

  • Sign and share our petition for respect and fair contracts at www.ura-aft.org or FB: URA1766
  • Join your union; sign up a co-worker
  • Show your support: Post union literature in your office
  • Volunteer as a Contract Captain—share the latest news and special briefings with your co-workers

Scandals and SNAFUs: Rutgers Needs Accountable Leadership

Dear Colleague,
We’re sending this message mid-summer because there have been so many scandals and SNAFUs that impact us. We are deeply concerned about the lack of accountable leadership at Rutgers. The high volume of summer communications from faculty to our union office suggests that many of you are equally distressed.We are very concerned by the sudden resignation of Chancellor Dutta after barely a year in that position. We would like to know the nature of the disagreements about the university’s future between him and President Barchi. In our brief interactions with Chancellor Dutta, it appeared that he was open to working with our union around a number of shared goals to make Rutgers a truly great public university. For instance, he spoke of freezing—and even lowering—undergraduate tuition and fees. However, tuition went up by 2.3% this year. We want to know, for the benefit of our members and students, what constituted the clash of visions between Chancellor Dutta and President Barchi.

Further, management agreed to pay $480,000, former Chancellor Dutta’s full salary, during a one-year sabbatical. We staunchly defend faculty  sabbaticals at full pay, but our members apply for this shift of duties after many years of teaching, research and service. We also guarantee to return to our regular assignments afterward. And we file a mandatory report on our activities during the sabbatical. Chancellor Dutta’s upcoming year sounds more like a half-million-dollar holiday than a sabbatical. The administration does a disservice to scholarship when it misrepresents the sabbatical. Management also undercuts our budget when it misspends money this way.

We are currently bargaining around this issue of sabbaticals and many other issues past the expiration of our contract. In fact, nearly 20,000 unionized employees as Rutgers, including our full- and part-time faculty, graduate workers and EOF counsellors, are now working without new contracts and raises. Despite a veritable army of full-time, highly paid top administrators (244 Rutgers administrators earn more than $250,000) whose job it is to bargain contracts in a timely and fair manner, our union has yet to receive any concrete counter-proposals to our major bargaining demands that we’ve made public since January.

On the medical side of the university, we do not share President Barchi’s enthusiasm over the new partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health. We do share our health care colleagues’ suspicions of this secretly planned privatization scheme that threatens access to medical care for the state’s most vulnerable populations. Many details have yet to be revealed or finalized, but we oppose the proposed transfer of $10 billion in public clinical health funds over 20 years to a private corporation. We oppose this deal’s impact on thousands of employees whose unions will be at best weakened and at worst busted as a result, denying thousands adequate workplace protections. All the while, Rutgers is upending a 50-year-old Newark Agreement with University Hospital, slashing services to North Jersey’s only Trauma One center, which disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx, and white poor and working class residents. We are working with Coalition of Rutgers Unions colleagues to challenge the deal.

In addition, management in late July failed to deduct union dues from thousands of employees’ paychecks claiming a clerical error. In further violation of the law, Rutgers directly communicated with our members and non-members in defiance of the NJ Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act that prohibits employers from encouraging members to resign or relinquish their union membership. Our coalition of unions has filed an Unfair Labor Practice, including the remedy that Rutgers reimburse our unions through their general treasury and not deduct double dues from our members’ next paychecks.

Finally, there is the Rutgers football credit card fraud revealed in early July. Given the adverse media coverage that has plagued Rutgers athletics, one would have expected President Barchi to have put in place a system of responsible and accountable oversight. Apparently he has not done so. What’s more, the athletics program—in stark contrast to our academic departments—continues to obtain limitless funds as it runs an astounding deficit of $47.4 million out of $99.2 million in expenditures (see Professor Mark Killingsworth’s analysis here). We demand stringent financial and academic discipline of Rutgers athletics.

President Barchi’s lack of coherent leadership and responsible oversight troubles us. The failed systems (Cornerstone and RCM), the disproportionate focus on big-time athletics and health care mergers, and the top-down management and leadership failures are holdovers of the Christie administration in Trenton. These problems, we believe, will ultimately be resolved through our ability to assert collective pressure to win our concrete demands.

We hope our colleagues enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and return in the fall prepared to join our efforts to push for transparent remedies to these problems and fair contracts for our members.

In Solidarity,
Deepa and David

Deepa Kumar, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
David M. Hughes, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT