Category Archives: URA Local Elections

Welcome from Our Leadership

Welcome from Our Leadership

As we start of 2013 and begin a new semester the URA’s newly elected leaders would like to introduce themselves to you and encourage you to get involved with the URA:


LuLucye Millerandcye Millerand, President

URA had big successes in 2012:
kept Camden in Rutgers and Rutgers in Camden, ended the illegal salary freeze won tens of thousands of dollars settlements in overtime, improper layoff and “just cause” settlements and we had small successes: we enforced rights to FMLA, vacation, and educational leave, improved health and safety conditions, and fought workplace bullying.

This year we are focused on building our membership, training and equipping a new corps of union representatives, and defining the issues we will take to the bargaining table in 2014.

I welcome our new officers: Lisa Scott, Treasurer; Ginny Caputo, New Brunswick Vice President; Tracy Swan, Camden Vice President and Executive Board members: Joan Bankole-Jones, Eric Himsel and Kay Schechter. They are new to these offices, but they are all tried and true activists and URA stewards.

Together, we can make Rutgers a great place to work.


Darlene M.  Smith, Executive Vice-PresidentDarlene Smith

Happy New Year as we start the Spring semester.  As Executive Vice-President I look forward to spearheading more membership involvement and increase member benefits, introduce new communication platforms, activate other URA committees, get members better access to university and union-related professional development opportunities, get more representation on university governance boards, increase partnerships with other unions and community coalitions, and increase benefits and protections to NJ public employees

I look forward to working with you in accomplishing these and other goals.


Theresa O'NeillTheresa O’Neill, Recording Secretary

Greetings URA members!  It’s new year and a new Executive Board: for me, my third term as the URA Secretary and thirteenth year as a Career Management Specialist in career services on the Newark campus.  As Secretary, I have had the privilege of recording and journaling many of URA’s activities:
meetings, arbitrations, and events.  I love capturing our Local’s history!

As always, thank you for putting your faith and trust in me as your Secretary, and I look forward to the upcoming year and beyond.


Lisa S. Scott
Lisa S. Scott, Treasurer
I have been with Rutgers University for 8 years.  I am the supervisor at the Graduate Registrar’s Office in Piscataway and was recruited to become the Busch Campus Steward in 2011.

My hopes for the future as Treasurer is to provide URA–AFT with support and dedication to ensure all aspects of our financial obligations are met and as a steward I will continue to make myself available to support our members in any way possible.”


Tracy Swan-Grova
Tracy A. Swan-Grova, Vice President-Camden Campus

I have been a Union member since its inception and have actively participated in Union meetings on the Camden Campus. I became a Union Steward in 2010 after I exercised my rights as a Union member to deal with a workplace issue. The Union helped me and I wanted to give back to other employees dealing with difficult workplace situations, specifically those who have been scared into not exercising their rights as outlined in our Union contract. I am particularly passionate about ensuring that Union members receive fair compensation, as well as compensation for overtime.

I started working at the Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs in 2004 as a graduate student; then became a full-time staff member in the fall of 2005. I also am an adjunct faculty member for the Criminal Justice Department in Camden. I received my BA in Psychology from Oberlin College in 1988, hold a Masters in Public Administration (2005) and a Masters in Criminal Justice (2009) from Rutgers-Camden.

As Vice President–Camden I will host regular member meetings where information can be shared with the membership and issues can be heard and action taken. I will zealously represent the interests of the Camden Campus to the larger Union body. I will do my best to ensure that a fair and representative contract is negotiated with the University for our Union members.”


Ginny Caputo, Vice President-New Brunswick/Piscataway CampusGinny Caputo

I am a proud member of URA-AFT.  I bring to our union over 15 years of administrative service in public higher education. I have served the last seven years as a Senior Administrative Assistant in School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Anthropology on Douglass Campus.  I first began my service to URA-AFT with the initial call for collective bargaining and have steadily increased my involvement: serving initially as Steward, then Campus Lead Steward and now as an Executive Board member.   I also serve as Chair to the URA-AFT Organizing Committee. With the help of our colleagues serving on the Organizing Committee and Executive Board, we’ve developed a structured organizing plan for recruiting new members and engaging current members.  By serving as Vice President for the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus, I look forward to implementing our comprehensive organizing plan, increasing our active membership and strengthening our member activism.  Overall, I hope to provide those of us on the New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses with a continued sense of representation and unity.”


Dorothy Grauer, Vice President-Newark CampusDorothy Grauer

2013 brings new challenges for our union and our members.  Thanks to each of you for electing me to serve you for another term.  As an employee of Rutgers since 1988, I am familiar with the operations and practices of the university.  As a founding member of URA-AFT, I have served as a lead steward, as Vice-President of the Newark campus, and as a member of the Health and Safety Committee.  I look forward to working with you and working for you every day in 2013.”


Joan Bankole-Jones, Exec. Board Member-New Brunswick/PiscatawayJoan Bankole Jones

I am privileged and excited to serve as a member of URA AFT Executive Board.  I would like to thank all those who believed in me by voting for me. I can assure you that your faith in me will not be diminished.  I bring with me honesty, sincerity and commitment to our union to advocate tirelessly for the dignity, respect and justice of our members.  While I am here to serve, it is my ardent hope that members will also participate more fully and take ownership of our union to effect empowerment and sustainability.  I welcome your views and thoughts on issues that are pertinent to you and look forward to serving and working with you so that together we can make a difference. ”


Eric Himsel, Exec. Board Member-New Brunswick/Piscataway

I have been a Lead Campus Steward on Busch for the past five years and have a sizable amount of experience representing members in grievances throughout my tenure. I approach the duties of this position with reason and fairness and I believe my background and experience will serve the membership well as an Executive Board Member. I recently graduated from the School of Management and Labor Relations with an MHRM and believe I have the ability to see both sides of the table. I aim to help create the best working environment we can have through negotiations and look forward to realizing that goal with input from all our members.”


Kathy LicinskiKathleen Licinski, Exec. Board Member-New Brunswick/Piscataway

I would just like to say Happy New Year to all of the URA members and thank you for re-electing me to the URA-AFT Executive Board.  We are constantly facing challenges, and I look forward to dealing with any problems that our members may face. I am glad that you have the confidence in me to choose me to represent you.   Please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions, concerns, or suggestions that you have regarding our Union or your workplace issues.  A Union is only as strong as our members, and we need to stand together to strengthen our Union.  Thank you again for believing in me, and I promise that I won’t let you down.”


Helen PirrelloHelen F. Pirrello, Exec. Board Member-New Brunswick/Piscataway

I have been, and am, honored to represent URA-AFT local 1766 at conferences, workshops, rallies, and with legislatures at the State and Federal level.  I have gained an understanding, knowledge and insight into our members’ needs and concerns, and will continue to work to ensure those needs are heard and those concerns are eliminated.  As a passionate advocate of union representation, I channel my fervor into working for those I represent and challenge those who put barriers in our way.

I have been an employee of Rutgers University for 30+ years and honored to represent Rutgers staff on the University Senate.  I am an RU alumnus, having received an undergraduate and graduate degree, and a graduate of the Union Leadership Academy.  I have worked with many of you to ensure our members are recognized for a job well done and that you are respected by those with whom we work.

With your guidance and support I have been educated in the art of comprise, making a deal, and finding innovative ways to remove obstacles that too often inhibit us and look forward to continue to work to ensure the benefits we have remain.”


Kay SchechterKay Schechter, Exec. Board Member-New Brunswick/Piscataway

I have spent the majority of my life connected to Rutgers in various roles.  Growing up, my mother worked at Continuing Education, I graduated from the Business School with a degree in Marketing and the School of Management and Labor Relations with a master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations.  My father and two daughters are also graduates.

I currently work in the Department of University Relations in the Office of Community Affairs on College Avenue.  December will be my eleventh year.  The most rewarding portion of my job is running the Senior Citizen Audit Program on the Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick campuses.

I signed the card check when our union was forming and joined as soon as we were officially able to.  I originally became involved in the legislative committee and election committee.  I am now the chair of the COPE Committee and a member of the Social Justice Committee.  I also serve as a CAC Steward and a delegate to AFTNJ.  I have served as one of our delegates to the National AFT Convention and the AFL-CIO NJ Convention, and served as a member of our contract negotiations team.

As the first chair of the COPE Committee, we have built our committee from the ground up and it is always evolving and adapting to the ever changing political climate.

I ran to be able to work closer with our Executive Board regarding the recommendations of the COPE Committee.  Our E‑Board has and will continue to work hard to represent all our members and the COPE Committee can be a major asset to our members and will benefit being able to work more closely with other chairs of committees regarding various issues that overlap.

I am also a charter member of the Greater New Jersey CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women) and a founding member of the NJ Chapter of PAW (Pride at Work), both affiliate groups of the AFL-CIO.

I resolutely support union ideals to protect our members and improve the quality of our work lives and through the COPE Committee I look to support candidates that support our working families and educate our own members regarding important issues that affect all of us.”


Mike Ballard, Exec. Board Member-CamdenMike Ballard

Over the years, I’ve seen the difference that the URA has made to ensure the rights of previously-unprotected employees. We all will continue to strive toward that goal in 2013. My key goal down here in Camden is to get more employees involved with the union, even if it’s just attending our monthly membership meetings. We need more stewards in Camden and more involved members – it’s your union, so please help us protect and shape your future.”


Carolyn FooteCarolyn Foote, Exec. Board Member-Newark

I have worked on the Newark campus for more than a quarter of a century. I enjoy the privilege of working on such a diverse campus. I chair the Civil Rights Committee, and I am a Delegate for AFT. I also worked on the Election Committee for AFTNJ. I am not finished working for our dynamic Union.”



Christine O'ConnellChristine O’Connell, Exec. Board Member-Extension/Off-Campus

Happy New Year URA brothers and sisters!

A new year brings new opportunities and I, as the off-campus representative to the executive board, hope to see many chances for all of our off campus personnel to get active and involved in OUR union to affect changes that directly impact all of us.  I look forward to meeting more of my off campus colleagues and will be holding more off campus meetings in various parts of the state to better hear and address your concerns.”

URA News: A Bonus and Other Holiday Treats

Tell President Barchi,

Fairness for Rutgers staff affected by Hurricane Sandy


This was the absolute worst treatment of employees during a natural disaster that I have ever seen.”

It is unconscionable that the university LIED to its personnel that the driving ban in New Brunswick did not apply to Rutgers employees.” 

This is a crazy policy, and the reassessments which the union is asking for are moderate and fair.”

Read comments, share your thoughts, sign the petition to Pres. Barchi: 

Please click here to sign our petition.

Read more here »


December General Membership Meeting / Holiday Celebration of the Union of Rutgers Administrators

December 10, 2012 5:00- 7:30 pm

The Rutgers Club, 199 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (parking available)


1. Reading of the minutes

2. Recognition of outgoing officers

3. Installation of new officers

4. Eat

5. Drink

6. Be merry: Music, games, etc.

All signed, dues-paying members are welcome, but you MUST reserve your ticket by 4:00pm Thurs, Dec. 6. RSVP at this link; for questions contact the URA at or call (732) 745‑0300.

Read more here »


Hurricane Relief Fund for AFT Members


Eligible AFT members affected by the storm should download the forms at this link and submit to the URA for information on obtaining additional assistance or to make donations. Additionally you can go to the AFTNJ’s site here.

Read more here »


End of the Year Bonus


URA members who are in a URA position as of December 1 and continue to be so on the December 7 pay date will find a nice gift for their wallets….the $750 bonus that was part of the January 10th Salary Freeze Settlement Agreement. This bonus is a lump sum payment and will not increase the base of your salary and should appear as a separate item on your payment stub. If you do not receive the payment, please contact UHR and follow up with the URA at

Read more here »

URA News: Post-Sandy and Elections at the URA

Tell Dr. Robert Barchi, President,  Rutgers The State University of New Jersey: 

Fairness for Rutgers staff affected by Hurricane Sandy


As Superstorm Sandy disrupted lives across New Jersey, Rutgers University canceled classes and advised faculty and students to stay home. But employees on Rutgers staff received confusing and conflicting messages about reporting to work. Now, we ask for fairness in compensating our time, compassion for those who are still trying to put their lives back together and concern for our safety. Staff are part of the community, not second class citizens. Please click here to sign our petition.

Hurricane Relief Fund for AFT Members

AFT members affected by the storm should download the forms at this link and submit to the URA for information on obtaining additional assistance or to make donations. Additionally you can go to the AFTNJ’s site here.

Health Plan’s Open Enrollment Ends Tomorrow!

New Jersey’s State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) Open Enrollment period ends tomorrow, Friday, November 16.


Remember that decisions regarding enrollment in health plans may affect increases in premiums slated to take place on July 1, 2013. An easy way to figure out how much your costs will increase can be found by using the Rutgers Employee Medical and Prescription Insurance Premium Estimator which can be found at

2012 URA-AFT Local 1766 Election Results

The URA-AFT Local 1766 Election Committee is pleased to announce the following results of the election of officers held on November 12, 2012.  The Election Committee would like to thank all of the candidates. We would also like to thank everyone who volunteered their time to help with the election – this could not have happened without you. Thanks also to everyone who came out and voted!


Maria Brewer, Acting Chair, Elections Committee

Karen White

Click here to see the results »