Category Archives: URA Contract

What to do about “excessive” workloads

If you worked overtime and you have not already been compensated, the annual performance evaluation is a good time to calculate that time and claim compensation.

Exempt” (classified as “NL” employees) who are working excessive hours can invoke provisions of Article 28 (p. 14 in the contract book). Even though you are not entitled to time-and-a-half pay, this article of our contract provide a process to obtain additional assistance, changes to job duties or compensatory time.

Meeting goals in the year of Cornerstone

  • We are getting NO work done.”
  • Cornerstone has slowed my work down to a crawl as I spend hours trying to get help with its faulty systems. I am now behind on everything… it is so frustrating.”
  • I am very backed up with the work I had to have sit before and during the blackout period.”

As we come up to the SCP performance evaluations, many URA members are genuinely concerned that we did NOT get our work done this year. The Cornerstone implementation that began in Fall 2016 proved a bigger hurdle than any system changeover we have seen before.

How can we address our performance evaluation amid this ongoing fiasco?

As you do your self-evaluation, provide a summary and a few examples of how Cornerstone affected your workload, your timelines, and your ability to complete tasks. Here are some suggestions for wording to adapt to your situation:

Please refer to the email communications regarding Cornerstone, and the system updates on cornerstone.rutgers.edu . Implementation of the system has prevented the usual work flow that the ( give your department /center/group name ) performed in previous academic years.  I (we) have been working with the Cornerstone team to help resolve the department (center/group) issues . However we are unable to proceed until the Cornerstone team has this up and running”

President Barchi sent an email that the system was working on February 1st; however, that did not include the backlog of marketplace/expense reporting items that have been held up since October 2016.  That four-month back log is for all of Camden, Newark and New Brunswick. This has continued to create significant delays which has prevented the usual work flow that the ( give your department /center/group name ) performed in previous academic years” 

Reports continue to be an issue ; that has prevented reporting on ( examples: grants/endowments/gifts) to the faculty.  This has prevented the usual work flow that the ( give your department /center/group name ) performed in previous academic years”

If you are concerned about Cornerstone-related problems arising in the next year, (for example upcoming FY16-17 closeout as well or compliance in reporting to funders for grant-funded work) use Section 3: Performance Standards, which states “Check here and detail on an attached page if standards are being modified for next year’s evaluation.”

Staff Compensation Program and “Merit” Pay

Raises for the URA bargaining unit for Fiscal Year 2017/18 will be based on a merit pay pool, and will be effective on July 1, 2017.

The URA-Rutgers Agreement provides , in Article 41 Salary Improvements, C. (p. 25 in the red URA contract book)

  1. Fiscal Year 2017–2018
  • A salary pool of 2.25% of the URA-AFT salary base as of March 1, 2017 for eligible
  • bargaining unit employees shall be available for merit- based salary increases pursuant to this
  • SCP effective July 1, 2017.
  • Employees who are rated as “meet standards” shall receive an
  • increase to base salary of no less than 1.25% and no more than 3%.
  • URA unit members who are in a URA unit position on the university’s payroll on January 1, 2017, and remain employed in a URA unit position on the university’s payroll through the payment date of the increase, areeligible for a merit-based salary increase from this salary pool.
  • The new rate of pay will be effective July 1, 2017. Employees who do not receive an evaluation by April 30, 2017, shall receive an increase to their base salary of 2.25%.

The forms used for the evaluation can be found in the contract book.

Keep in mind during the performance evaluation phase:

  • You have the right to submit a self-evaluation, to respond to the content at the time you sign, and to appeal once you have the results of your raise. Doing the self-evaluation prepares you for all of these steps.
  • Your signature on the performance evaluation is for receipt only and does not mean you agree with the evaluation.

Protections: Since our first contract in 2008, we have negotiated the following protections : Merit pool for salary increases

  • The pool of money for these raises must be entirely spent on raises to the URA-AFT bargaining unit.
  • 99% of the unit will receive a “Meets Standards” rating, based on previous years’ results. You will not be fired, or disciplined as a result of a poor review, and most of those who “fail” one year will meet standards in the next year.
  • If supervisors do not evaluate their employees according to the SCP, they can’t use the salary pool to reward OR penalize—the 2.25% average raise prevails.

Problems: Still, there are significant problems with our system of merit pay, which can be frustrating for members and managers alike.

  • There is no mechanism to match the size of the raise to the quality of the performance ions. The evaluation is a Pass/Fail grade with an A, B, C, D, E, F reward.
  • Supervisors are not given guidelines to compare employees, but still must divide up the pie.
  • The minimum and maximum of each salary grade stays the same. If you are at the top of your grade, you will receive your merit pay as a one-time bonus ; if you are near the top, may be part raise and part as a bonus.
  • The appeal process does not provide for a raise, only sets the record straight

Your supervisor’s evaluation is only a recommendation to a higher level (Dean, VP, even Chancellor). The decision-maker may not know your or your work.