Category Archives: Events

Standing up for our contract

Dear Member,

I hope that you and your families are all safe and well. These last few weeks have been harrowing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and caused much stress and anxiety. I trust that many of you are adjusting to working from home and are faring well. For those who are still working on campus, know your union is working hard to protect your safety.

In the last couple of weeks, Senior VP of Human Resources, Vivian Fernandez, has sent several emails that have caused consternation. We addressed some of these concerns to the Office of Labor Relations and wanted to share that we continue to protect the terms and conditions of employment that we negotiated in our contract.

Therefore, contrary to the email on April 2, 2020, reclassifications (Article 35), acting appointments (Article 2), and in-grade adjustments (Article 39) are not suspended actions for members of the URA. If you have been considering taking any of those actions to correct your compensation for the additional work that you have done and/or additional work that you continue to do, please begin the process now. If you experience any difficulty with any of the processes, please contact us at union@ura-aft.org.

Further corrections in response to Ms. Fernandez’s email from April 10, 2020, our performance evaluation (SCP) time period is May 1, 2019-April 30, 2020. Use the self-appraisal to document the many things that you do that keep Rutgers working every day and your contribution to the success of the University. If the job description reveals added scope and responsibility in your work, you should consider taking advantage of the self-reclassification process outlined in Article 35 in our contract.

I invite you to join us in our first virtual General Membership meeting for all campuses on Monday, April 20, 2020. The agenda includes: Secretary Minutes, Treasurer’s report and updates on COVID-19 issues. Please see the meeting information below.

Apr 20, 2020, 5:30 PM 

Register in advance for this meeting: (registration information was sent too members only via email)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you soon. Please stay and well.

In solidarity,

Christine O’Connell
President

URA-AFT Meeting At AFTNJ Legislative Conference

URA 031619 AFTNJ Legislative Conference
URA-AFT members after Saturday’s Legislative conference in East Brunswick.

URA-AFT members after Saturday’s Legislative conference in East Brunswick.

URA members met Saturday, April 16, to participate in union building and planning activities aimed at getting a fair contract and building a stronger union for better working conditions across the university. “Our strength is in an active membership who are willing to speak up for equity in pay and demand fair working conditions at Rutgers,” said Christine O’Connell, URA-AFT President.

More photos from Legislative Conference

Bargaining Report; Membership Meeting

 


October Bargaining Updates
What Does It Take To Get A Fair Contract?
Tentative Agreements* (TA’s) were reached on two articles.

1. Bereavement Leave: One member spoke at the bargaining session in September; he was denied Bereavement Leave to attend his grandfather’s services because the arrangements for military honors pushed the date back many weeks.  Our T.A. provides up to 90 days to use Bereavement Leave.  The article also states that requests for vacation leave for bereavement will not be unreasonably denied.  (That’s already a protected right, but will assist our members and their managers in handling such situations).

2. Grievance Process: Management proposed eliminating Steps 1 and 2 of our Grievance procedure.  Although Step 1 is informal, unwritten and non-precedential, URA stewards know it can be the most productive way to sit down with management and really problem-solve.

The T.A. retains the four steps of the grievance process. First we attempt to resolve the program informally (Step 1). If that does not work, we look for a resolution with the second-level supervisor of the person who filed the grievance (Step 2). For grievances not resolved within the department, we conduct a hearing with the Office of Labor Relations (Step 3), and the union may elect or go to binding arbitration (Step 4) through the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to defend members and our contract.

*Tentative Agreement means that neither the union nor management will seek any further changes to this provision. The revised article becomes part of the new contract if and when the new contract is ratified by the membership.

URA also gave management two detailed proposals to improve working conditions.

One, for a new article that would integrate our legal rights to job protection under Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), New Jersey Family Leave Act, NJ FLA and  N.J. Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE) with our rights to sick leave and other paid time off. This proposal would put members in all departments under a single, clear set of guidelines, and allow maximum flexibility for members and their families in crisis.

The other would merge existing articles on Layoff (Art. 21) and Seniority (Art. 42) and revise Salary Adjustments (Art. 39) to increase the definitions of the seniority units, increase in-placement of members who have been laid off and peg salary adjustments to the workweek (35/37.5 or 40) and FLSA overtime status.

More bargaining dates are scheduled on November 7, 14 and 27.

We hope that an accelerated schedule of talks means that management is prepared to talk seriously about salaries, job security and health insurance costs.


The handful of union members at the bargaining table doesn’t mean much without the support of the hundreds of others across the University – including you!

This is what you can do in November:

November 12: Attend URA General Membership Meeting; Busch Campus Center, Room 116. Candidates for URA offices will make statements.

November 14: Join Bargaining Support rallies

Newark Campus 11am – 1 pm Samuels Plaza, Robeson Center Terrace

Cook Campus: 11:30 12:45 pm ASB II, Route 1 South (by Sears)

Sign up a co-worker as a union member.

This June’s Supreme Court decision Janus V. AFSCME was designed to break union’s bargaining power. Well, URA’s membership is still growing. When you sign up, and sign up a co-worker, you show management that you care about your future at Rutgers.

Host a building meeting.

Still not sure what’s going on at the table? Not clear what your rights are? Contact the URA office to schedule a lunchtime meeting with your co-workers to get the latest news and discuss your hyper-local concerns.

Give your Input: We all want fair pay. Take the Salary Improvement Survey to make your views clear: What does fair mean to you?


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