Events Newark

Newark Solidarity and Holiday Party Nov. 30 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Newark members are gathering for merriest holiday cheer on Wednesday, November 30 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at McGovern’s. Look for your Evite or register here.


Work share and unemployment information sessions

Rutgers UHR Information sessions

These sessions are open to all employees working in a URA-AFT position. URA-AFT union representatives will also be in attendance to provide input from the union’s perspective.

Update-these sessions have ended. If you missed a UHR session, you can review the presentations and other resources on the UHR Share Work Program page.

URA-AFT Information Sessions

Get your questions answered about filing for unemployment insurance

  • Tuesday, May 18, 2021 — 11:30 AM (members only — register)
  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 — 11:30 AM (members only — register)
  • Thursday, May 21, 2021 — 11:30 AM (members only — register)

These sessions are a membership benefit and require advanced registration. Sessions are open only to dues-paying union members of the URA-AFT. Non-members may join by downloading the membership form. Representatives from Rutgers UHR are invited to attend these sessions.

Events URA Contract

CRU Town Hall about Tentative Agreement

If you have questions about the tentative agreement, attend an upcoming meeting.

April 1, 2021 5pm Coalition Town Hall with URA, HPAE, CWA, and AAUP. Register here. You must be a member to attend. Non-members join first.

Benefits COVID-19 Events Health & Safety New Brunswick/Piscataway

Members Only: Get your mask

We held three mask distribution events on Livingston, Busch, Newark and Cook/Douglass Campuses recently.  It was great seeing you all. We look forward to seeing you at the next one. This is a members only benefit.

We are not currently mailing masks.

Next up: College Avenue, Friday, November 20, 2020, 10am-2pm

Where: Underpass area between the College Ave Campus Center and the Grad Student Lounge (near Panera).  You can park in Lot 26 behind the Grad Student Lounge



Call to Action: Protect the Vote Count

Union member calls to action

Saturday, November 7, 2020


April – Membership Meeting Report Back

On Monday, April 20th, we held our first virtual General Membership meeting.

Here is a brief summary from Monday –

The Coalition of Rutgers Unions has weekly Labor/Management conferences with UHR and upper management representatives. We have presented our demands and concerns, and some answers have been provided

Extension of COVID Paid Leave (CPL) and Telecommuting beyond 4/30 – We have asked for management to provide timely notice of their plans, negotiate any plans which vary from the Governor’s orders. Sr. VP Vivian Fernandez said that a message would be coming this week regarding this issue but refused to share any plans.   It is clear that management does not have a plan for safely re-opening on campus operations.

Time keeping issues – Employees can and should apply for BOTH Telecommuting and CPL if applicable. For NE employees, please continue to fill out the Telecommuting timesheet with your regularly scheduled hours and fill out the duties section in blocks of time, not in 15 minute increments. We are monitoring issues arising from combining the two provisions, and will provide additional guidance on the URA-AFT website, as our discussions continue.

Vacation carryover expansion – To date, there is no expansion of vacation carryover beyond your annual accrual of vacation time. Please put in vacation requests for days beyond your annual accrual so you don’t lose them. Additional guidance is provided on the URA-AFT website. See Side Letter on Vacation Policy, p. 55.

SCP Performance Evaluation period is May 1, 2019-April 30, 2020. You should detail all your accomplishments and duties assigned for the past year. Article 41, B. 1. b. in our contract says, ”Employees will be evaluated for the period starting May 1 of the previous year against the performance standards established during the previous evaluation process and any additions or modifications that have been communicated to the employee during the year.”

Layoffs and furloughs are rumors that many managers spreading to our members.   Our contract states that if management declares a fiscal emergency, they must provide the unions with thorough proof and negotiate on changes to the existing contract. See Appendix G, p. A-18.

URA is working with the Coalition of Rutgers Unions to make specific demands and negotiate over any changes to the existing contract.

Events Higher Education

We Opened the Books!

Open The Books: An analysis of Rutgers financial reserves.

When: Friday, May 1, 5:00 PM
Archive: Click here for a recording and copy of PowerPoint slides (external link)

Coalition of Rutgers Unions Statement: No Decisions About Us, Without Us

Our Coalition of Rutgers Unions, representing 20,000 unionized employees, will not allow the Rutgers administration to turn this tragedy into a disaster for the people who make Rutgers work. We are appalled by the weeks-long delay in receiving personal protective equipment.

We are infuriated by the announced and threatened layoffs of many of the lowest-paid employees, and we are dismayed by the lack of transparency about Rutgers true financial condition. As the people who make Rutgers work, even during a pandemic, our unions must have a critical role in shepherding this institution through the crisis. The voices of workers must be centered if we are to make urgent health, safety and financial decisions that impact millions throughout the state of New Jersey.

The truth is without our labor, Rutgers cannot function. We run communications and administration, pick up trash, deliver mail, and clean facilities. We care for patients, and support, teach, mentor, and assist tens of thousands of students. We conduct some of the leading scientific research in dozens of fields, including the fight against COVID-19. Our voices matter in this current crisis and for the future well-being of this university.

The immediate choice is stark: Rutgers can either lead with values that put human safety, security, and well-being at the center of its universe or it can willfully go down the path of corporate-driven austerity – a model that protects the elite and throws the rest of us to the wolves. Instead of Rutgers eat-what-you-kill Responsibility Center Management budgeting, we demand People-Centered Management and we call on the University to put our people first!

Every budget is a statement of priorities and values. Rutgers entered this crisis with the largest subsidy of hundreds of millions of dollars from the academic mission to athletics and the greatest management bloat in the Big Ten. Now, President Barchi plans to lay off 20% of adjunct faculty, or 600 teachers. The total adjunct workforce of 3,000 teach more than 30% of all classes and collectively earn less than 1% of Rutgers’ budget. Further, he leaves another 1600 employees without union contracts at all. This kind of austerity-maximum pain for minimum gain- makes no sense.

Meanwhile, about 250 in senior management continue to take home more than $250,000 each for an annual cost of $80 million. The fact that it is these same managers who are making decisions to deprive those who barely earn a living is a real problem.

It mimics the injustices we are seeing at the national level with massive bailouts for large corporations and peanuts for those actually doing the work. It is time to reverse this intolerable status quo. Here’s what our Coalition of Rutgers Unions is demanding:

  • Secure urgently needed PPE for Rutgers employees
  • No layoffs
  • Settlement of all outstanding union contracts
  • Access to health care for all Rutgers workers, including part-timers
  • Full transparency of Rutgers finances and crisis plans
  • Carry over all earned vacation and sick time
  • Union involvement in all job continuity and work reassignment decisions.

One thing is clear: Rutgers will not emerge as a healthy institution from this crisis if management keeps making decisions that harm the fundamental mission of the university. We need an honest accounting of the university’s $4.6 billion a year budget, and we need an honest accounting of the university’s approximate $1.9 billion in reserves, including unrestricted reserves of nearly $600 million.

Because no sober decisions can be made about our financial priorities without this information, our Coalition is hosting our own Open the Books event on Friday, May 1st, at 5pm to be live-streamed and recorded, so that we can hear from our own accounting experts on Rutgers’s reported numbers.


Standing up for our contract

Dear Member,

I hope that you and your families are all safe and well. These last few weeks have been harrowing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and caused much stress and anxiety. I trust that many of you are adjusting to working from home and are faring well. For those who are still working on campus, know your union is working hard to protect your safety.

In the last couple of weeks, Senior VP of Human Resources, Vivian Fernandez, has sent several emails that have caused consternation. We addressed some of these concerns to the Office of Labor Relations and wanted to share that we continue to protect the terms and conditions of employment that we negotiated in our contract.

Therefore, contrary to the email on April 2, 2020, reclassifications (Article 35), acting appointments (Article 2), and in-grade adjustments (Article 39) are not suspended actions for members of the URA. If you have been considering taking any of those actions to correct your compensation for the additional work that you have done and/or additional work that you continue to do, please begin the process now. If you experience any difficulty with any of the processes, please contact us at

Further corrections in response to Ms. Fernandez’s email from April 10, 2020, our performance evaluation (SCP) time period is May 1, 2019-April 30, 2020. Use the self-appraisal to document the many things that you do that keep Rutgers working every day and your contribution to the success of the University. If the job description reveals added scope and responsibility in your work, you should consider taking advantage of the self-reclassification process outlined in Article 35 in our contract.

I invite you to join us in our first virtual General Membership meeting for all campuses on Monday, April 20, 2020. The agenda includes: Secretary Minutes, Treasurer’s report and updates on COVID-19 issues. Please see the meeting information below.

Apr 20, 2020, 5:30 PM

Register in advance for this meeting: (registration information was sent too members only via email)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you soon. Please stay and well.

In solidarity,

Christine O’Connell


URA-AFT Meeting At AFTNJ Legislative Conference

URA 031619 AFTNJ Legislative Conference
URA-AFT members after Saturday’s Legislative conference in East Brunswick.

URA-AFT members after Saturday’s Legislative conference in East Brunswick.

URA members met Saturday, April 16, to participate in union building and planning activities aimed at getting a fair contract and building a stronger union for better working conditions across the university. “Our strength is in an active membership who are willing to speak up for equity in pay and demand fair working conditions at Rutgers,” said Christine O’Connell, URA-AFT President.

More photos from Legislative Conference

2018 Contract Camden Events New Brunswick/Piscataway Newark Off Campus URA Contract URA Local Elections

Bargaining Report; Membership Meeting


October Bargaining Updates
What Does It Take To Get A Fair Contract?
Tentative Agreements* (TA’s) were reached on two articles.

1. Bereavement Leave: One member spoke at the bargaining session in September; he was denied Bereavement Leave to attend his grandfather’s services because the arrangements for military honors pushed the date back many weeks.  Our T.A. provides up to 90 days to use Bereavement Leave.  The article also states that requests for vacation leave for bereavement will not be unreasonably denied.  (That’s already a protected right, but will assist our members and their managers in handling such situations).

2. Grievance Process: Management proposed eliminating Steps 1 and 2 of our Grievance procedure.  Although Step 1 is informal, unwritten and non-precedential, URA stewards know it can be the most productive way to sit down with management and really problem-solve.

The T.A. retains the four steps of the grievance process. First we attempt to resolve the program informally (Step 1). If that does not work, we look for a resolution with the second-level supervisor of the person who filed the grievance (Step 2). For grievances not resolved within the department, we conduct a hearing with the Office of Labor Relations (Step 3), and the union may elect or go to binding arbitration (Step 4) through the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to defend members and our contract.

*Tentative Agreement means that neither the union nor management will seek any further changes to this provision. The revised article becomes part of the new contract if and when the new contract is ratified by the membership.

URA also gave management two detailed proposals to improve working conditions.

One, for a new article that would integrate our legal rights to job protection under Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), New Jersey Family Leave Act, NJ FLA and  N.J. Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE) with our rights to sick leave and other paid time off. This proposal would put members in all departments under a single, clear set of guidelines, and allow maximum flexibility for members and their families in crisis.

The other would merge existing articles on Layoff (Art. 21) and Seniority (Art. 42) and revise Salary Adjustments (Art. 39) to increase the definitions of the seniority units, increase in-placement of members who have been laid off and peg salary adjustments to the workweek (35/37.5 or 40) and FLSA overtime status.

More bargaining dates are scheduled on November 7, 14 and 27.

We hope that an accelerated schedule of talks means that management is prepared to talk seriously about salaries, job security and health insurance costs.

The handful of union members at the bargaining table doesn’t mean much without the support of the hundreds of others across the University – including you!

This is what you can do in November:

November 12: Attend URA General Membership Meeting; Busch Campus Center, Room 116. Candidates for URA offices will make statements.

November 14: Join Bargaining Support rallies

Newark Campus 11am – 1 pm Samuels Plaza, Robeson Center Terrace

Cook Campus: 11:30 12:45 pm ASB II, Route 1 South (by Sears)

Sign up a co-worker as a union member.

This June’s Supreme Court decision Janus V. AFSCME was designed to break union’s bargaining power. Well, URA’s membership is still growing. When you sign up, and sign up a co-worker, you show management that you care about your future at Rutgers.

Host a building meeting.

Still not sure what’s going on at the table? Not clear what your rights are? Contact the URA office to schedule a lunchtime meeting with your co-workers to get the latest news and discuss your hyper-local concerns.

Give your Input: We all want fair pay. Take the Salary Improvement Survey to make your views clear: What does fair mean to you?

Stay in touch, email, share union messages on social media

Facebook logo@ura1766

Twitter @union1766