AFT Convention Elections

Candidates

Joshua EaiseJosephine (Jo) Nagle
Brian EverettChristine O’Connell
Melissa HartlandKatie Parrish
Isaac JimenezArly Rubens
Mary Ellen MaguireTazmine Weisgerber

Candidates’ Statements

Joshua Eaise

Josh works for NJ-STEP, a higher education in prison program. He serves on the URA Executive Board and helped negotiate the last contract.

Brian Everett

Brian Everett is a graduate of the Camden College of Arts and Sciences as well as the Graduate School at Rutgers-Camden. He serves as a staff senator within the Rutgers University Senate representing Camden Staff. He’s a PhD candidate in Rutgers-Camden’s Public Affairs program, focusing his dissertation on New Jersey’s suburban 

Melissa Hartland

I currently serve as the URA-AFT Newark Campus VP. I have been at Rutgers for 16 years and have been an active member of the URA, starting as a building representative many years ago. I thoroughly enjoy engaging our members and would be honored to attend this year’s AFT convention.  I feel it’s my duty to learn and share the latest processes and strategies for our members.

Isaac Jimenez

Isaac Jimenez (he/him) is an Editorial Media Specialist in the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark and building rep on the Newark campus. He has been with Rutgers for going on ten years as a student then staff, and since joined URA has served on the negotiations table for our last contract. Isaac is a member of Rutgers Staff United, a caucus of non-teaching Rutgers staff dedicated to transforming our unions into powerful vehicles for change on campus and in our communities. Isaac is running for AFT delegate to present the voices of thousands of students, educators and community standing up for Palestine to the convention floor. He is helping lead the Uncommitted vote effort to pressure the Biden administration to call for an end to the genocide that so many of our New Jersey communities are experiencing second hand and will center the voices of workers demanding more money for our campuses and K12 education and less for military spending. Isaac believes that every rank and file URA member has a role to play in building a better university.

Mary Ellen Maguire

I have been working at Rutgers University for 18 years and have been a member of URA-AFT since we voted to authorize our union in 2007. I have served as a building representative, steward and bargaining team member. I am excited to represent our members’ interests at both local and national level. I look forward to learning more about how to use our union’s power to build.

Josephine (Jo) Nagle

I would be honored to attend the 2024 AFT Convention as a delegate representing the URA-AFT, Local 1766. I voted to unionize in 2007, have been a full member since day one, and gradually became more involved. I now serve as the secretary, steward in Newark, and on numerous committees, and was on the bargaining team. I welcome the opportunity to discuss and set policy, elect our union’s leadership, and learn more about the power and benefits of our affiliation with education, healthcare, and public services professionals throughout the country.

Christine O’Connell

As President of URA, I represent our membership in many aspects, as lead negotiator, as a steward in grievances, and as an advocate for our needs across many external organizations. At the AFT convention, my goal is ensure that URA staff voices are heard and acknowledged at our national affiliate and not overlooked by competing needs of other constituencies. As a delegate at the AFT national convention, it is my opportunity to represent and champion all URA members and I look forward to doing so with your vote. Thank you for your continued support.

Kathleen (Katie) Parrish

Kathleen (Katie) Parrish is a program coordinator in the Rutgers Office of Climate Action and a member of the Rutgers Staff United caucus. She has over ten years of experience in environmental advocacy and activism, and since joining URA two years ago, she has been learning  how to apply this experience to labor organizing. As an example, after hearing interest from other members to keep in touch more easily, Katie helped create URA Connect, a Slack messaging channel where member can build community and support one another. As a delegate, she would look forward to hearing your ideas and concerns and brainstorming ways to address them through the convention. Katie would also push for measures that support union democracy and transparency, pay equity, and sustainability. 

Arly Rubens

Arly Rubens (she/her) is an Administrative Assistant and building rep in the Department of English, on the New Brunswick campus. As a member of the Rutgers Staff United caucus, she feels strongly that members not only make the union, but ARE the union, and organizes actively to reflect this: she’s worked with fellow URA folks to run last year’s strike authorization pledge, canvass buildings to gauge member concerns, facilitate member town halls, and more. As a delegate, she would start by asking members about the issues they care about most – really! – and lead with a belief in the power of labor to win a more just world for everyone.

Tazmine Weisgerber 

I am the Training Manager at Answer, a national center that focuses on comprehensive sex education. My job requires me to have difficult conversations with people and educate about topics with a spectrum of values and beliefs. This means I have a lot of practice advocating for what I believe, while maintaining respect and empathy for others. I am also finishing up my master’s in the WGSS department’s “Feminist Practices for Social Change”. This degree has expanded my social justice expertise well outside of the sexual health realm. I am not afraid to go against the grain if it will lead to more equitable solutions for everyone, particularly populations which are often overlooked. 


The biennial AFT convention is the most important policymaking body of the federation. The vitality and democracy of the union depend upon participation in the convention by delegates from all affiliates in good standing. Important resolutions, constitution and bylaws amendments, and the election of the AFT president, secretary-treasurer, executive vice president, 43 vice presidents and delegates to the AFL-CIO convention will be in the hands of the delegates. 

The 2024 AFT Convention will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas from Sunday, July 21 through Thursday, July 25, 2024. Saturday, July 20, 2024, is a travel day.

URA members may nominate themselves and members may nominate other members to serve as delegates to the AFT convention. All nominees require a second from the floor or in writing. Nominees must be signed members in good standing.

VOTING and Other Information

URA-AFT members will receive a ballot via their netid@rutgers.edu email.

The voting will be conducted using Election Runner software and will begin Monday, May 20, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. and end Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. Results will be shared no later than Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Only the President plus five other top vote-getters are approved for travel expenses paid by URA-AFT. The remaining top vote-getters will be alternates for the purposes of paid travel expenses or have the option to attend the convention at their own expense. 

The top five vote-getting delegates and the President attending the convention will: 

  • Receive 100% reimbursement of allowable travel, housing, and meals (not covered by the convention) expenses.
  • Must use paid time off (PTO) from Rutgers – union release time will not be allowed for convention attendance or travel.
  • Delegates are expected to attend all business sessions of the convention, committee meetings as assigned, and educational workshops when they are offered.
  • Those elected to be delegates, after being notified, will be given 20 business days to book their travel arrangements and submit receipt as proof. This allows for better rates for travel expenses. If the deadline is not met, the number six vote-getter will be notified. 
  • Travel reimbursements will not be accepted until after the travel is completed. All reimbursements will be processed as soon as possible.

Questions about nominations and elections of delegates need to be directed to elections@ura-aft.org.

To Help Ensure You Receive the Election email

Please review your settings at netid.rutgers.edu in advance. 

  1. On the left-hand side of the webpage scroll down then click on “Manage Email Addresses” this will take you to the NetID Login-CAS, enter your netID and password, click on the “Login” button. 
  2. On the top of the page there will be tabs click on “Manage Email addresses” review the email addresses in the various boxes that will appear. Explanations of the email address labels are on the left-hand side of the page. 
  3. You will want to check with your Information Technology specialist in your department before changing any of these settings/email addresses. 
  4. Scroll down to your “delivery email account.” For most of you, this will be an “[user]@connect.rutgers.edu” address. If so, attempt to log into your Connect inbox now if you do not already use it regularly (go to connect.rutgers.edu). 
  5. URA-AFT only receives and uses the [netID]@rutgers.edu email. For most, this will show as the very first email address in the “personalized email addresses” box.

Check your “Junk Mail” Settings

In your Outlook settings, check the “Junk Mail” section to see if URA-AFT is blocked. There’s a list of “blocked senders” and “safe senders” – you can delete the URA-AFT email address from the “blocked” list and add URA-AFT to the “safe” list.

If you have not received the voting email on Tuesday, May 21, 2024:

  1. Look in your “Junk” or “SPAM” or “Trash” folder.
    • If it is there, click “Do not block sender.”  
    • If it’s not there, please contact elections@ura-aft.org.
    • Then drag the email to your Inbox.
  2. If it’s not there, please contact elections@ura-aft.org.

Elections Committee

Heather De Meo
Fatimah Fischer
Jen Reiber
Lynn Riker