All posts by urainfo

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.

The Student Debt Crisis

More than 45 million student loan borrowers owe student debt, a result of decades of disinvestment in public higher education that has shifted costs onto students and their families while leaving colleges and universities underfunded.

navient student debt graphic

Collectively, student debt is over $1.5 trillion, and this debt surpasses all types of household debt other than mortgages. Unlike holders of other types of consumer debt, who have experienced lower levels of delinquency and default since the Great Recession, student loan borrowers remain in distress.

Nearly 1 in 4 federal borrowers are in default or struggling to stay current on their loans. When they fall behind on their payments, the consequences are dire: negative credit reports, wage garnishment and diminished options to cure defaulted loans.

Consumer credit reports—which are the keys to employment, housing and access to credit, and consequently to economic stability itself—are tarnished. This is why the AFT has launched a student debt clinic program to help our members. But we know that helping each other manage student debt is not enough; we need to join together and fight to change the terms of the debate about student debt.

Student Debt Survey

text screenshotAFT is currently surveying our members about their experiences with student debt. If you’ve gotten a text message like this one, that’s from us! To share your experience, take our survey (link is external).

County-based employees and winter break

Most Rutgers employees will enjoy a long holiday break this year, but some of our members working in Cooperative Extension, based in county offices will be working on the four floating holidays (Dec. 27–30  this year.)  County-based employees in the URA unit who are assigned to offices which follow a holiday schedule that is different than that set forth in Article 14 “Holidays” section of the 2007–2011 URA-AFT Administrative Unit Contract are entitled to a day and a half of holidays for each of those days when they work.

The March 18, 2008  agreement states that “…members of the bargaining unit who are assigned to county offices which follow a holiday schedule different from that set forth in the Agreement, shall follow the holiday schedule established in their respective county of assignment except that no such member shall receive less than 14 holidays.” It goes on to say that “Employees who are assigned to counties which schedule less than 14 holidays shall receive an extra personal holiday(s) to be scheduled within the same fiscal year at the mutual convenience of the bargaining unit member and his/her supervisor.”

The most common county holidays are Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthdays, Good Friday, Columbus, Veteran’s  and Election Day.  However, if your county does not observe all of these, you should request personal holiday time from your supervisor, at the rate of 1 1/2 days.

Read the 2008 side agreement here.