Category Archives: 2018 Contract

Sign and Share: Rutgers workers need affordable health insurance

Bring your team to the table now;  let’s hammer out a deal on employee health insurance  as we agreed we would over eight months ago.  We can save money for Rutgers workers, the University and the State of New Jersey.

Twenty-two thousand unionized employees at Rutgers agreed to negotiate over health insurance with Rutgers management “immediately following” the close of negotiations on economics and working conditions issues last summer.  Since mid-2019, Rutgers has refused to come to the table on health insurance.  As of February 2020:

  • Rutgers employees are paying more for the State Health Benefits Plan than our peers who work directly for the State of New Jersey.
  • Thousands of adjunct faculty, who teach most of the classes at all Rutgers campuses and online, are offered no health insurance at all.
  • Medical faculty still have no contract.
  • Neither Rutgers nor its workers are getting the savings that the State of New Jersey negotiated with its workers in 2019.

Our salaries as unionized staff and faculty in public higher education are lower than what  we could earn in the private sector.  We have chosen to work in higher education for the rewards, which include a strong benefit package.  80% of our members  utilize the State Health Benefits plan for ourselves and our families.

We urge Rutgers management to  come to the bargaining table today,  as promised, and negotiate health insurance language for our contracts now– before another fiscal year of savings is lost.

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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.