Category Archives: AFT

URAAFT Bargaining Bulletin: September 2018

AT THE TABLE:

  • The URA Bargaining team met with Rutgers’ Management team for three bargaining sessions in September 2018, bringing the total number of sessions to 13 overall since April 2018.
  • Tentative agreements were reached on Article 38 (Safety Committee) and Article 47 (Union‐Employer Information Exchange). No new written proposals were exchanged with either side, but counterproposals were exchanged on Article 12 (Dining Services).
  • Union members presented personal testimonies to proposals including: Bereavement Leave, Employees Living on Campus, and Dining Services.
  • URA steward and subject expert Karen White from the Center for Women and Work at SMLR joined the team for a detailed discussion of management’s proposal on FMLA and other legal leave provisions. The URA’s information request to Rutgers management providing evidence of how Rutgers has administered FMLA/NJFLA/NJSAFE leave is still outstanding.

Why so much talk about FMLA and Sick Leave?

URA and our coalition partners are emphasizing protection for our FMLA and Sick Leave rights. Over 10 years, we have observed that Rutgers does NOT give equal treatment or provide clear guidelines on how to administer these legal protections.

Work/family balance…We have made many gains in this area:

  • Expanding sick time to care for family members from 5 to 15 days
  • Educating members on what laws like FMLA, NJFLA and NJSAFE can provide, and
  • Guaranteeing the right to use sick time for medical appointments

Now, we are bargaining to establish clear, fair and workable contract language to protect our members who face health challenges. If Rutgers really believes in employee wellness, as it claims to, we believe that a win‐win agreement can be found.

Real News from Management? Or not…

Don’t be fooled by Vivian Fernandez’s emails touting recent agreements with unions and their offer of 3% raises to the Teamsters and even some non‐aligned employees.

You need to know that the Teamsters Local 97 only represents 1,700 employees in legacy UMDNJ titles and the Fraternal Order of Police Local 164, approximately 43 superior officers. Our URAAFT 1766 represents 2,500 employees.

You also need to know what Vivian is leaving out of her emails:

  • The Teamsters’ agreement says nothing about health insurance costs. How much of their increase will be eaten up by health care contributions? They don’t know.
  • The Teamsters’ agreement does not protect their members’ jobs from massive privatization—Barchi and Strom are giving Rutgers’ clinical operations around the state to Barnabas Health…where Teamster jobs will be replaced by RWJ‐Barnabas workers.
  • The Teamsters agreed to language that will limit their rights to sick leave and FMLA/NJFLA protection. (See description of URA bargaining above.) Their FMLA will be charged concurrently with sick time (a major crisis could put one’s job in jeopardy much faster than the benefits URAAFT members have now).
  • The Fraternal Order of Police Local 164 agreement is retroactive to July 1, 2014 and runs out June 30, 2019 – meaning they will be back at the bargaining table in less than a year!
  • Finally, non‐aligned staff (Managerial, Professional, Supervisory and Confidential employees) have been “given” 3% for this year, but still don’t know how much their healthcare contributions will be…AND, they have no job security at all. They are “at‐will employees” and can be fired at any time, for any reason.

Vivian Fernandez’s emails are calculated to persuade you to be disgruntled about and question the value of your union membership, in general, and tempt you into becoming impatient with unfinished contract negotiations involving YOUR own union.

Watch this video to see what union members are doing to ensure we negotiate a strong contract, not a meaningless sweetheart deal, that will benefit YOU as a URA member.

Join union members Thursday in Camden in their fight for contracts:

Between noon and 1 PM on October 4 members from all the unions on campus will be gathering in front of the Camden Campus Center, 326 Penn St., Camden, NJ for a speak out session. At 1:30 PM we will speak to the Board of Governors to insist that contract be settled inside the campus center.

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 AAUPAFT; 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

*****

URAAFT 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

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.”

Besides working on committees during the convention, some members volunteered their time by reading to students at a local school, donating baby items for new parents, or marching at a rally to support public school education in Pittsburgh.

URA Convention Delegates with Pres Randi WeingartenTo top off a whirlwind of activities during convention the URA delegates were pleasantly surprised to be able to meet AFT’s dedicated leader and staunch advocate President Randi Weingarten, on the last night in town.

Everyone came back geared up and ready to move forward with building a strong union for their membership.