Category Archives: AFT

We Bargain for Members and Advocate for Unions

What the Janus Decision Means To The URA

The U.S. Supreme Court just punched us in the gut. Just when URA – and 17,000 other Rutgers workers are negotiating for new contracts, the Supreme Court decided today to abolish the 40-year old system of “fair-share” fees, in a case called Janus v. AFSCME.

From now on, as a union member, you’ll be covering the cost of maintaining a strong union… but your co-workers who are not full members can ride for free.

What will they get for free?

Read more here


Looking at Janus from the Bargaining Table

Bargaining with an employer like Rutgers is difficult enough. With the Janus decision now in play, do not think twice about maintaining your membership with URA-AFT—it is THE thing ensuring that your stable union job will continue to exist as you enjoy it. Less memberships means less bargaining strength for proposals that we want and need. Your co-workers on the URA bargaining team put countless hours of concern, thought and effort into our proposals based on our collective experiences and your feedback. There are always gains to be made. But Rutgers is proposing cuts to our benefits and will win more cuts if we are not unified and working TOGETHER AS MEMBERS. We have faced similar threats before. Remember when Rutgers froze wages?  We weathered those storms (and even Hurricane Sandy) TOGETHER. As members we decided to help our brothers and sisters after Sandy. We set up a union-funded vision care program to offset medical costs when Rutgers did not.  We need to solidify and protect our “seat at the table”.

Read more here


Oppose Austerity Budgets!

From the Better Choices Budget Coalition:

Legislators have massively let down working families across the state. They voted to continue Chris Christie austerity’s gimmicks and balance a budget on the backs of working families.

One can only wonder why Democrats would opt to protect millionaires while cutting an additional $75M from public transportation, $95M cut from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, or even eliminating the long overdue increases in gun licensing fees. One thing is for certain, regardless of whether it was driven by malicious desire or misinformation, the reality is that they failed us!

Make no mistake, this is NOT a balanced, fair, and sustainable budget. Email your legislators to take action today!


Remembering Carolyn Foote

A founding member of the Union of Rutgers Administrators-AFT union at Rutgers University, Carolyn Foote died Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Newark, New Jersey. Hundreds of family members, colleagues from Rutgers, the union and community gathered the following Friday to celebrate the impact of her too brief 67 years.

Family members told stories about her role as a matriarch and positive influence on their lives. URA-AFT Executive Vice President Darlene Smith talked about her travels with Foote to union conferences and conventions.

Read more here

Student Loan Survey Launches

Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education

Many AFT members, like so many Americans, are struggling to pay back student debt, and helping them manage student loans has become one of the union’s top priorities. For the last several years, the AFT has held student debt clinics across the country to help borrowers who have been the victims of predatory lending practices gain access to debt relief. Recently, we expanded our clinics to focus on helping members manage medical debt. The response from these debt clinics has been overwhelming—we have helped reduce thousands of members’ monthly payments by hundreds of dollars, and have gotten others on track to have tens of thousands forgiven through public service loan forgiveness. Now, we are launching a survey to find out what else we can do to fight back against the predatory lenders and loan servicers that are hurting working people.

Read the Report, Protest the Greed

A year after Rutgers implemented the Cornerstone Cloud Financials project, URA conducted an online survey to assess how the system has affected our members.

Our Contract Development Committee has produced a report on the results of the survey.  Among the findings:Among the findings:

  • Over half of respondents (55%) experience stress & frustration using Cornerstone and half (49%) report an increased workload.
  • Almost half of respondents give Cornerstone poor ratings based on their ability to monitor account balances (47%), manage grant-funded projects (45%), and transfer funds (40%).
  • Of those who mention workload or system problems, more than half (54%) have problems with reports producing conflicting, inaccurate, unreliable data.

We urge you read the report here (http://www.ura-aft.org/for-members/cornerstone/ura-cornerstone-report/).  The recommendations will be discussed at a future membership meeting.

URA and AFT’s national research department have tried to find out the costs of the overall Cornerstone project.

We have already provided a compilation (http://www.ura-aft.org/for-members/cornerstone/cornerstone-oracle-invoices-and-documents) of over $12M paid to Deloitte Consulting for overseeing the implementation of Oracle’s systems.

But it’s been a bigger challenge calculating the amounts paid to Oracle Corporation itself. This involves a mix of hardware, software, licensing, training and oh, so many consultants.  At times, management responded to our OPRA requests by denying that any such thing as Cornerstone exists.  That’s a tough position to take from a university that’s  said so much (https://cornerstone.rutgers.edu/)  about Cornerstone  for so long.

So URA has adopted an open-source approach to research on the true cost of Cornerstone.   You are free to study the information Rutgers provided under the Open Public Records Act.  These documents are provided as Rutgers provided them to URA.  Any redactions were made by Rutgers.  The order of the documents was also decided by Rutgers.  You can also use the spreadsheet compiled by the AFT research department to see what Cornerstone cost us for the period 2014–2017.

Old Queens has shown once again that RUTGERS HAS THE MONEY –tens of millions of dollars available for investment in priority items.  Performance is not an issue.

Let’s make people a priority investment at Rutgers.  Join us on April 10 at the Board of Governors, to get the contract we deserve.