Categories
Health & Safety URA Contract

Your office temp should be between 68 to 79 degrees 

URA-AFT members should not be forced to work in temperatures that are outside of the range of PEOSH Indoor Air Quality Standards. Instead, they should be directed by their supervisors to work from home.

Steps To TakesJoint Health and Safety MOA
 The Joint Health and Safety MOA in our 2022-2026 Contract has provisions for what to do when indoor air quality in relation to temperature does not meet standards. Rutgers has agreed to follow the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) standards. Temperatures should be between the range of 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. 
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If the University is unable to provide a workplace within the temperature range recommended by PEOSHA, at the discretion of the employees’ department head or designee, employees may be permitted to work from an alternate University location or work remotely. However, if a determination is made that the workplace temperature is unsafe or unhealthy, the University will immediately initiate remedial action, including relocating employees or permitting remote work. 
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Categories
Health & Safety

Active Shooter Training

Rutgers University and your URA Health and Safety Committee recommends that all members take advantage of Active Shooter Training to be better prepared for emergency situations. To reach a broader audience, University Public Safety is offering a virtual workshop on Workplace Violence and Active Shooter training. The training will be led by Vincent DeNota, director of security services for the Rutgers University Police Department. Training will discuss key elements of prevention and mitigation strategies to utilize in the event of an emergency. The virtual training is scheduled for Friday, March 22, 2024, at 10:00 am and is designed for faculty and staff who have not received formal in-person instruction. You can register at this link: https://rutgers.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bvK4qQZ2YukZt9s

The School of Arts and Sciences is also holding an in-person training for those interested on Wednesday March 6, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 Noon, in Tillet Hall Room 258. Registration details for the training are scheduled be sent out via email, Monday, February 26, 2024 to SAS. The training room capacity is limited to 60 participants; therefore, we highly recommend registering as soon as the registration email is sent out.

If your department/unit is interested in scheduling in-person training RUPD is happy to accommodate. Please reach out to your local public safety representative for your campus, listed here.

RUPDCamden:

Sgt. Jason Ronca

jason.ronca@rutgers.edu

(856) 202-2010

RUPDNew Brunswick:  

Sergeant Bryant Myers 

Bryant.myers@rutgers.edu

(848) 932-4877

Rutgers Emergency Management Office-Newark

Jeff Issler

jeffrey.issler@rutgers.edu

The Health and Safety Committee encourages you to take advantage of these resources as working together, we can enhance safety and security of our campuses and community. Additional information on about Rutgers Emergency Action plans can be found at this link https://ipo.rutgers.edu/publicsafety/eap/police-emergency

A pdf summary of the Active Shooter Specific plan is here: https://ipo.rutgers.edu/publicsafety/eap/active-shooter

You are also strongly encouraged to sign up for the University Emergency Notification System if you have not already done so.  You may do so by visiting this https://eas.rutgers.edu/?ht_kb=emergency-notification-system-ens.

Categories
Win

Correcting Medical Insurance Deductions, Members Speak Out

“When I received my first paycheck of 2024, I noticed that my health insurance deductions had increased significantly,” said Melanie Palm, Assistant Dean (Academic Advisor) at the School of Nursing-Camden. ​”I knew that the deductions should not have changed since I was on the union-negotiated health plan so I reached out to Mikaela Maria for guidance.”

Maria, Camden VP, and others like Jenny Wagner Noonan​, Senior Editorial Media Specialist on Busch Campus, brought the overcharge to the attention of URA President Christine O’Connell. After a brief investigation, O’Connell contacted UHR and demanded a correction.  

“Thousands of dollars were returned to our members,” O’Connell said. “But if you see discrepancies in your paystub, send us an email to union@ura-aft.org so we can demand the correction and put your money back in your pocket.”   

Noonan said, “Our union is our collective voice, and I’m grateful we were able to bring attention to this issue.” 

Categories
Benefits

April 30 Deadline To Consolidate Student Debt

Our union can help! 

The Department of Education is continuing to improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan and now they are going back to review ALL payments for borrowers who apply and complete Income Driven Repayment plans by April 30, 2o24.

Click here to register for Summer and to attend a webinar for union members. There are webinars scheduled. The next is Feb. 19, at 7:00 p.m., so get the information to save yourself money.

This could mean thousands of dollars of debt relief for student borrowers – and even some who took Parent Plus Loans will benefit from the Income Driven Repayment program.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program that forgives the remaining balance on your direct federal loans after you’ve 1) made the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments under an accepted repayment plan 2) while working full-time for an eligible employer. As an employee at Rutgers University, you are eligible for this program. 

URA members  have access to Summer—though our parent union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Summer will help you simplify and navigate your student loan, including help to: 

  • Enroll in income-driven repayment plans and managing annual income recertifications;
  • Complete the PSLF Employment Certification Form and managing the PSLF certification and application process; and
  • Find other loan forgiveness programs and maximize loan repayment and forgiveness options.
  • 120 months sounds like a long time, but the months of the COVID payment “pause” may also be counted towards that number. 

One Member of Many Who Saved

URA building rep Colleen Klein, program coordinator at the Dance Department in Mason Gross said: “I finally received a judgment on my PSLF application re: my student loans. They have been forgiven! The amount forgiven: $34,988. The years I worked at Pillar College, Princeton & Rutgers fulfilled the service requirement.

I am so thankful to the union for helping with this process. It’s daunting & takes some time but having Summer work with me was key to getting this result.”

Do Not Delay

Your last chance to have previously ineligible payments on any federal loans count toward PSLF ends on April 30, 2024. You must consolidate FFEL Loans and Perkins loans before this deadline to maximize the number of qualifying payments. Complete the consolidation application using Summer or at Federal Student Aid before April 30, 2024.

Categories
Balance

Schedule A ‘Pushing Back On Excessive Workload’ Workshop

What has changed in your job at your time at Rutgers? Are you doing more of the same work or have you taken on more responsible projects? Were you assigned “pandemic” related changes that never went back to “normal”? 

These questions and many more were the topic of one campus workshop at Murray Hall Wednesday, Feb. 7. 

Participants from across the campus talked about “mission creep” resulting from management leaving positions unfilled, and  work that is “pushed down” from one division to another.  “I’m literally doing the work two people were doing recently,” said one member, “and they are not moving to fill that position.” 

Union Executive VP Lucye Millerand advised members to track time and tasks carefully. “When we take on other’s work, we give management an incentive to keep understaffing. If one of us can do the work of two ,   why should management hire two ?  “ 

From contractual and legal remedies to demand fairness, overtime pay or time-and-a-half compensatory time, to setting personal boundaries and taking action as a department, multiple solutions were discussed for time-crunched members. 

Thanks to Department Representative Arly Rubens and Campus VP Leigh-Anne Cobb for scheduling the in-person and hybrid session. 

If it sounds like you and the URA members in your department would benefit from this educational and informative workshop, work with your steward or building rep and email union@ura-aft.org to schedule a session. 

Categories
Social Justice

Calling for a Permanent Ceasefire in Palestine and Israel

Members presented a resolution at January’s membership meeting. The resolution was discussed, then tabled to February’s meeting. Members were informed of the resolution with an invitation to attend February’s meeting. After impassioned and civil discourse the following motion was approved. 

RESOLUTION OF UNION OF RUTGERS ADMINISTRATORS – AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS LOCAL 1766

Calling for a permanent ceasefire in Palestine and Israel. URA-AFT offered and moved adoption of the following resolution: 

WHEREAS, At least 25,700 people have been killed and 63,640 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7th, and more than two thousand Palestinians remain in administrative detention without charge or trial; and the revised death toll from the October 7th attack on Israel is reported to be greater than 1,200, and approximately 132 Israeli hostages remain in Gaza; and 

WHEREAS, 2.3 million lives of those living in Gaza are at imminent risk if a permanent ceasefire is not achieved and humanitarian aid is not delivered without delay; and 

WHEREAS, Rutgers University endowment is invested in companies that actively perpetuate the apartheid system in Israel, such as Motorola, which produce surveillance and arms technologies that are used illegally in settlements in the West Bank; and 

WHEREAS, URA-AFT members come from diverse backgrounds, including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Israeli, Palestinian, and more; and the nature of URA members’ work is to support the education of Rutgers students from a wide variety of backgrounds; and 

WHEREAS, criticism of the state of Israel does not represent anti-Jewish sentiment (sometimes conflated with anti-Semitism); and  

WHEREAS, on January 30th the AFT Executive Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire and previously, President Randi Weingarten has affirmed the importance of unions engaging in issues of social justice beyond contract negotiations;” 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Union of Rutgers Administrators:(1) urges the Biden administration and New Jersey’s congressional delegation to immediately call for a permanent ceasefire and facilitate deescalation to urgently end the current violence; and(2) calls for delivery of prompt humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Categories
URA Contract Win

Agreement Reached On Telework Goes Into Contract

On Tuesday, January 30, Coalition of Rutgers Unions (CRU) leaders met and reached agreement on telework with management. 

This language will update and replace Article 59 in our contract.  

 Some highlights include:

  • All unit employees are eligible to apply for a flexible work arrangement, whether you are non-exempt (eligible for overtime) or exempt (ineligible for overtime)
  • Ad hoc (temporary) remote work arrangements can be made
  • Seasonal modifications to a hybrid schedule can be made 
  • Written explanation must be provided if request is denied
  • Grievances can be filed 

See Full Agreement​ >>

Categories
URA Contract

Contract Education: Article 19, Just Cause/Discipline


One of the most important articles in our contract is Article 19, Just Cause & Discipline.  This article ensures that “no employee shall be discharged, suspended, disciplined, or receive a deficiency downgrade except for just cause.” Additionally, both URA and Rutgers University “affirm the concept of progressive discipline.”

The language of this article means that supervisors cannot discipline or discharge union members for trivial or manufactured reasons. They must provide evidence for any disciplinary actions. Additionally, except in cases of egregious misconduct, supervisors must follow the following disciplinary steps: a verbal warning, a written warning, a suspension, and termination
In our newest contract, we also clarified that a verbal warning must also be stated as a verbal warning when it is issued. 

These steps are also clearly laid out on UHR’s website, except that the new language clarifying what a verbal warning is has not been added. Our union has been able to roll back discipline in the past when these steps have not been followed.

Click here to see the most updated version of Just Cause in our 2022-2026 contract. If you are interested in learning more about the specific benchmarks that Rutgers has to meet in order to mete out disciplinary action, we encourage you to check out this 2014 article that our union produced on Just Cause. We also encourage you to check out this related article on Grievance; we will be providing a write-up of this article in a following e-blast.
The Communications Committee will be rolling out a series of educational materials, social media updates, and other member-centered materials in the spring semester. If you are interested in helping out with this work and joining the Communications Committee, please fill out this form out here.

Categories
URA Contract Win

Telework Agreement Reached

URA and other Coalition of Rutgers Unions (CRU) unions have reached an agreement with management on incorporating telework in our contract. Highlights include:

  • All unit employees are eligible to apply for a flexible work arrangement, whether you are non-exempt (eligible for overtime) or exempt (ineligible for overtime)
  • Ad hoc (temporary) remote work arrangements can be made
  • Seasonal modifications to a hybrid schedule can be made 
  • Written explanation must be provided if request is denied
  • Grievances can be filed 

The new language will provide more opportunity for telework than our pre-COVID contract language. It will also provide more accountability than UHR’s temporary COVID-era policies.

Text of the final article will be finalized and shared soon. Congratulations and much thanks and appreciation to the members of the bargaining team and our sibling unions who worked together on this issue.

Categories
Benefits

Union Plus Scholarships

Apply today: January 31 deadline for 2024 Union Plus Scholarships. A scholarship for union families. Union Plus Scholarships help union families with the cost of college. https://www.unionplus.org/…/edu…/union-plus-scholarships