First 100 Days President’s Report

Christine O'Connell
Christine O’Connell

There are many priorities that we are focusing on: negotiating a fair contract; resolving member and workplace issues; and managing the day‐to‐day operations of the Union. All of these efforts present new and exciting challenges, and I look forward to working with all of you in finding creative ways to build a stronger and increasingly active URA.

In the first 100 hundred days, we have had:

8 bargaining sessions with management;

7 campus/ building meetings with several hundred members attending;

6 Rutgers coalition meetings with other union leadership here at Rutgers;

5 meetings with affiliates including AFTNJ, AFL‐CIO, and Middlesex‐Somerset Central Labor Council;

4 General membership meetings;

3 professional development workshops for members in Newark and Camden;

2 collective actions to show management that we want a fair contract with over 350 people participating;
and

1 executive board training held at Labor Education Center to plan for our goals moving forward.

Our goal is that management recognizes our exemplary work and the ways that we contribute to make Rutgers work efficiently and effectively on a daily basis. Our work touches every facet of this University, from Athletics to the Zimmerli Museum, every academic department, every business unit, and beyond. We serve the students, the faculty, and the community‐at‐large. We are the stakeholders who are often overlooked and undervalued and we need to change that paradigm.

Management can recognize our value through a strong contract. We have not been impressed with how management has responded in this current round of negotiating. We have been bargaining since last April, and they continue to offer low raises and other proposals that negatively impact us and reinforce their low value of the work that we do daily. This means that we need to step up our efforts to be seen and heard. We all want and need substantial raises, affordable healthcare, increased job security, and other parts of a great contract. To achieve that, we need everyone to come out to events.

Please consider this a personal invitation. Please also e‐mail us at union@ura-aft.org with any ideas you may have about member mobilization and increased visibility. Together, we can impact contract negotiations and give strength to our dedicated bargaining team. Thank you in advance for your help and participation, and any ideas that you may have.

URA Resolves To Stand Strong For Fair Contract

WHEREAS, the membership and the leadership of the URA‐AFT deserve and desire a finalized contract settlement in May of 2019 that is fair and responsive to the needs and recognizes the value of the general membership at Rutgers.


WHEREAS, Rutgers University’s management team has delayed negotiations purposefully, failed to engage in meaningful proposal exchanges over issues deemed of great value to the membership, and has committed multiple unfair labor practices since negotiations began in April 2018.


WHEREAS, at this time we are faced with outside pressures from other unions settling too early on harmful agreements and the remaining unions are in alignment with URA‐AFT that fair agreements over medical insurance, FMLA, fair wages and other economics proposals, and union security are priorities. And that these same unions have in some cases authorized a strike or charged their membership with escalation efforts to push management to settle fairly over these major outstanding issues.


THEREFORE, be it resolved, the Executive Board (Board) of the URA‐AFT authorizes and will strongly encourage and see through an escalation of membership mobilization effort during the month of April 2019 and long as deemed necessary by the Board or general membership thereafter in support of a fair contract that pushes Rutgers’ management team to agree with its remaining priority proposals on medical insurance, FMLA, fair wages and other economics proposals, union security, job/career advancement and quality, and job security.


THEREFORE, be it resolved, the Executive Board of the URA‐AFT charges the bargaining team comprised of voting committee members previously authorized, will hold firm on such proposals when facing managements’ negotiators and will not bring forth a final agreement if and until the will of the general membership has demonstrated its mobilization and escalation efforts to its fullest abilities.


THEREFORE, be it resolved, that the Executive Board will train itself, all stewards, building representatives and other workplace leaders on an escalation plan that it will see through to its fullest capacity, effort and resources immediately. The general membership of the URA‐AFT will be involved to the fullest extent possible to participate in its own vested outcome of these negotiations and supportive mobilization plan.

Bargaining Update April 3

The URA‐AFT bargaining team met with management’s team again yesterday to negotiate. The meeting was less than productive and management’s proposals — particularly on salary — continue to be insulting and unresponsive to our needs on how we structure the raises. We did however make some progress on other proposals. Our bargaining team knows this contract could be settled in May, but not if management continues to disrespect the URA‐AFT. Therefore, your actions and pressure away from the table needs to continue.

Local 1766