Category Archives: Off Campus

URA-AFT Newsletter — Week of 4-30-2012

Vacation Policy Transition—Make It Work For You

{Vacation Picture}In 2010, University HR proposed changes to the vacation policy for staff.  URA called for negotiations to protect our unit members and negotiated a letter of agreement which applies specifically to URA members.  Both documents can be viewed on the URA website http://www.ura-aft.org/node/500.   The URA negotiating team found most members who had accrued high amounts of vacation accrual did so because their requests to use vacation time had been denied.  The new vacation policy which we negotiated states for the first time states that “Requests for vacations shall not be unreasonably denied.

Now, as we approach the end of fiscal year 2011–2012 and face the summer vacation season, URA members should consider how to use this policy to their best advantage. Keep in mind that by July 1, 2013 it will be almost impossible to “roll over” more than one year’s vacation allowance.

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Reflections of the AFTNJ Convention

URA activists had the opportunity to attend the AFTNJ Convention in Galloway, NJ the weekend of April 20 and 21.  Besides attending workshops and serving as URA delegates to AFTNJ, the state federation of AFT, members were able to network with other AFT colleagues. Participants had this to say about their experience…

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Off Campus Meets at Convention

{Off Campus Mbrs Picture - l to r: Shari Harding, Peter Fazzino, Christine O'Connell & Louella Heaton}Christine O’Connell, chair of our Off Campus Concerns committee, took the AFTNJ convention experience to another level by inviting some off campus members to participate at the April 20th event.  She noted that  The highlight of the weekend for me was after  dinner when I discovered that several off campus members of the URA had joined us.  It was fabulous having an impromptu off campus meeting to discuss issues that pertain to our department only.

(Pictured l to r: Shari Harding, Peter Fazzino, Christine O’Connell & Louella Heaton)

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Health and Safety Committee Wins Award

{Workers Memorial Award picture}During the weekend of April 20–22, 2012 the URA-AFT’s Health and Safety Committee received the Annual Workers’ Memorial Award.  This was presented at the AFT’s 35th Annual Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) Conference held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.   This award is presented to selected locals for doing good work around health and safety issues.

Amy Bahruth, Assistant Director of AFT’s Health and Safety Program and Rutgers AFT-AAUP member, accepted the award on behalf of the URA at the PSRP Workers’ Memorial Day Luncheon.  Reporting back from the conference Amy noted that the award was presented to the URA’s Health and Safety committee because it has developed an active and rigorous health and safety agenda for its members on all three Rutgers University campuses, in addition to off campus locations.

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Tax Deduction for Use of Personal Vehicle

(from Christine O’Connell, URA Executive Board member for Off-Campus & Extension)

Just a reminder, since the University chooses to reimburse only at .31/mile and the current IRS mileage reimbursement rate is .55/mile, you can deduct the difference of 24.5 cents/mile off your taxes for all the miles that you’ve driven for 2011. For some of us who put significant mileage on our personal vehicles for University purposes, this can add up to be a large number. I know that I personally drove approximately 1,800 miles last year and am sure that there are others that have driven more than that. Especially if you are in the southern counties of the state, where distances seem to be farther apart, please keep track of ALL the miles you drive and deduct the difference! You can use copies of your TABERs to document your miles. It’s YOUR money; don’t let the IRS or Rutgers keep any more of it than they already do!!!

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.