Category Archives: Uncategorized

COVID Updates — Week of January 18

Using the NJ Family Leave Act instead of your PTO for care of your children

Trying to understand management’s insistence on using our earned sick leave to address COVID — related child care?

Here are some tips from Yarrow Willman-Cole, former URA member and an advocate at NJ Citizen Action, about entitlements that may help us:

Workers may also apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA for this same reason. Here are the recommended tips for how to apply for the expanded Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA. 

1.Inform your employer in writing that you plan to apply for unemployment assistance for a PUA reason. Note: this is good practice but is not required by law. You can refer them to Updated Information for Employers & Businesses

2.To apply for PUA, you first apply for regular unemployment insurance benefits. Per federal rules you need to be found ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits, which means you need to apply and be denied, and then NJDOL will contact you and assess you for PUA. It could take several weeks to process your application.

3. Apply for Unemployment by following the COVID-19 certification guide.

You can see much of the above discussed on the NJ Department of Labor website. 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or FFCRA, mentioned in the website has expired and is not being granted by most employers currently. PUA was also set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020 but was extended 11 weeks into 2021 currently.

SAS Faculty, Staff Stand Strong Against Cuts

On October 15, 2020, an emergency SAS faculty meeting was held in response to recently announced layoffs in multiple academic departments.  Both faculty and staff spoke out during the meeting against Executive Dean Peter March, his layoff decisions, lack of transparency, and a host of other failures.  Here is a selection of what occurred during the meeting:

Faculty resolution to reverse layoffs

Manufacturing Scarcity (PDF) — Presentation by Professor David Hughes, Department of Anthropology

Remarks from Christine O’Connell, President of URA-AFT

Remarks from Andrew Goldstone, Associate Professor of English

Meeting with Pres. Jonathan Holloway

On Wednesday, August 26th, several union presidents representing URA, AAUP, AAUP-PTLFC, AFSCME 888, AAUP-BHSNJ, HPAE, NJEA, Doctors’ Council, and OPEIU met with President Holloway to discuss the labor management relationship at Rutgers and how we all seek to improve it through collaboration and partnership moving forward.

We addressed concerns about layoffs across all of our units, our importance to the success of the University, lack of accountability and response from his senior management team, low morale, and many other issues. It was a productive conversation and gave President Holloway a clearer understanding of our shared commitment and common goals.

I requested to schedule monthly meetings to ensure regular communications, but he did not commit to that. We all agreed that it is important to reset the relationship between labor and management and committed to greater transparency to correct previous “systematic communication failures.”  We are looking forward to developing a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with President Holloway as we continue to navigate through COVID-19 and beyond.