Vacation Policy Transition—Make It Work For You
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
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
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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The performance evaluation or Staff Compensation Program for URA employees is now underway. Under the URA Agreement, all URA unit members as of January 1st, 2012 are eligible for evaluation and merit pay. The pay will be distributed in October of 2012 to all members who remain employed in URA titles. Here are some tips to make the process work for you.
Do a self-appraisal: The SCP process provides three opportunities to present your own assessment of your performance. First is the self-appraisal, which should be done before you meet with your supervisor. The awkward March –to-March time period does not match either the academic or fiscal year. Look back at your emails, files or calendar. Make your own list of accomplishments for the year. For example: Did you whittle down a backlog? Take on new tasks? Improve a process? Organize a successful event? Learn a new system?
Pay attention to percentages: Workloads change, but the total percentages of key duties should still be 100%. So if one portion of your job grows, another needs to diminish. Supervisors sometimes criticize performance when the real problem is that tasks have grown more complex or time-consuming.
Use the self-appraisal to correct the record: If your supervisor’s appraisal does not accurately describe your work, use your self-appraisal a second time by adding to the evaluation form when you sign it. This information must go forward to the next level of management. Once the evaluation process is complete, and you receive
notification of your raise, you still have the chance to appeal the result; the third use for your self-appraisal.
Complete the evaluation form: If you have received a completed evaluation form, signed by your supervisor, you should sign it. You should only refuse to sign if you are given an incomplete form. Your signature shows that you have received and read the form, not that you agree.
Please click this link to the retro pay calculator that we have created to assist you in determining your new salary/bi-weekly payment. Note that there are two sections — the top (For Unit Members Prior to 4/1/11) are entitled to receive the first retro of 2.25%; the bottom (For New Unit Members after 3/31/11) only receive the second 2.25% retro of Feb. 1, 2012.
To use the calculator enter your bi-weekly pay in either A4 (unit members prior to 4/1/11) or A12 (new unit members after 3/31/11); the calculator will fill-in the other details. For a standard outcome it is suggested that you put in a regular work week amount that does not include vacation, sick, other leave days, or overtime hours.
If the calculations are not correctly reflected in your March 16th paycheck please contact your department’s human resources liaison or Payroll at 732–445-3007.