Tag Archives: Contract Education

Contract Education

The URA is committed to ensuring that our membership is well-versed in our contract and our rights.  To that end we are rolling out a series of Contract Education articles to help you understand the importance of our contract; how the various articles are beneficial to you, and when and how they are applicable.

What is a Grievance?

Our union enforces the provisions of our contract through our grievance procedure.  A grievance is defined as a claimed violation of any provision of our Agreement or of any Rutgers policy relating to mandatory negotiable wages, hours or terms and conditions of employment (Article 12-Grievance Procedure).

In New Jersey, without a contract restricting termination (such as a collective bargaining agreement), an employer has the right to discharge an employee at any time for any reason.  An employer may fire an employee for “no reason” — or even for a reason that might seem arbitrary and unfair.  This is commonly referred to as “employment at will”.

However, you have a collective bargaining agreement (“contract”) that restricts when an employer can discipline you.  Article 18 of our contract states that, “No employee shall be discharged, suspended, disciplined or receive a deficiency downgrade except for just cause.”  Our contract even prohibits the University from changing policies that effect the terms and conditions of your employment without first negotiating those changes with our union; this not only applies to policies found in the University Policy Library but also departmental policies as well.  Article 49 states that, “During the life of this Agreement, any changes in University regulations, procedures, or in the University Policy Library that constitutes a change in a mandatorily negotiable term and condition of employment for members of the bargaining unit shall be negotiated.”

The grievance procedure found in Article 12 lists a number of steps in our grievance process.  The steps get more formal as you go through each of the steps; the first step is an informal attempt to resolve the matter with your supervisor, with the final step being binding arbitration.  Some grievances are resolved successfully at the earlier stages of the process while others are not pursued past a certain point for a variety of reasons.

If you read through the grievance procedure you will see language that defines what must be contained in the grievance, who receives the grievance form, the timeline to file the grievance as well as timelines to advance the grievance to the next step.  This language can appear very technical but don’t be intimidated by any of it.  Your steward has received training on how to process grievances and has additional assistance if necessary.  The most important thing to remember is to contact your stewards as soon as something happens that you think might properly be challenged through the grievance procedure.

Contract Education:

 

The URA is committed to ensuring that our membership is well-versed in our contract and our rights.  To that end we are rolling out a series of Contract Education articles to help you understand the importance of our contract; how the various articles are beneficial to you, and when and how they are applicable.

 

What is the Difference Between Union Dues and Agency Fee?

Our union represents two different types of  employees.  One is a union member who pays dues and is a full member of the URA.  The other is a person who has not signed a membership card and is an “agency fee” employee.

Under the URA-AFT Constitution, Article X, dues have been set by the membership at 1.2% of your yearly straight time salary. For an average employee represented by the URA this translates into approximately $26.00 per pay period.  Those who have not signed a membership card pay 85% of the 1.2% dues rate.  For the average agency fee employee this translates to approximately $22.10 per pay period. [See
http://uraaft.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ConstitutionFinal1.pdf]

Union dues are the life blood of our union.  Without dues, there would be no lost-time pay for negotiating committee members, no funds for training, no lawyers to pursue arbitrations, no one to turn to when you are unfairly treated or disciplined, and no trained representatives to take your side when things get bad.  You are simply at the mercy of your employer.

So what is the difference between being a full member or just paying the Agency Fee?

The following outlines the basic difference between joining the Union of Rutgers Administrators or paying the Agency Fee.

Union Dues:

By choosing to pay Union Dues, you become a full member of the Union of Rutgers Administrators.  In addition there are many benefits to becoming a full member of the URA-AFT.  They are:

  • Gives you and your co-workers a louder voice at the negotiating table, as well as State and National political issues effecting public sector workers.
  • Full rights and benefits outlined in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Union of Rutgers Administrators and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
  • The ability to run and vote in local URA elections.  This gives you, the member, the opportunity to vote for your leadership or become a URA leader yourself.  Additionally, your voting rights give you more of a voice in many policy decisions that affect your employment at Rutgers including those found in our contract.
  • The ability to vote on your contract.
  • Eligibility for numerous URA Discounts & Programs which include, but are not limited to various insurance, travel and entertainment discounts. [See http://www.aft.org/benefits]
  • As a dues paying member, you may also be eligible to receive legal advice in certain employment related, non-contractual matters as well as access to an Attorney Referral Service for other matters. Agency fee payers have no access to this benefit.
  • Only Dues Paying members can attend URA Monthly Membership Meetings and get continuous access to the URA’s electronic newsletters (E‑News). This gives you access to the most important information regarding raises and other timely information.

Agency Fee:

Full-Time: 85% of union dues or 1.02% of yearly straight time salary. [$3.90 less per pay period]

By only paying the agency fee you are only entitled to:

  • Full rights and benefits outlined in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Union of Rutgers Administrators and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  As an Agency Service Fee payer, you have no access to any of the numerous URA-AFT benefits.  The Agency Service Fee covers only the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

It is very important to all of us represented by the URA to be full members.  The benefits you receive are well worth the $3.90 per pay period.