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
Health & Safety

Acceptable Indoor Work Temperatures

As the weather has been unpredictable lately, the Health and Safety committee reminds members that temperature is a common indoor air quality workplace complaint. One contractual gain is a recognized temperature range based on the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) standard guidelines of 68-79 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your indoor workspace is outside that range please contact Facilities to report the issue using the online submission portal. You will need to log in with your netID. Since our original announcement of this contract provision, 20 members have taken advantage of the digital thermometers available for members to borrow from the URA Health and Safety committee.

URA Thermometer Request Form

If you have been experiencing issues and wish to borrow a digital thermometer for your workspace please complete this form and a member of the Health and Safety committee will be in touch to get a thermometer to you. Be sure to also reach out to colleagues to see if the issue is widespread and encourage them to fill out the form as well. Once you have your data, submit a work order to facilities and keep a record of the request and response time. If it is a health and safety concern, additionally contact REHS to report. Keep the Health and Safety committee updated so we can assist with following up if needed!

Categories
Health & Safety Uncategorized

Stay Healthy This Spring


Stay Healthy This Spring

Many staff, students, and faculty live and work in areas that are currently designated as high COVID transmission risk areas by the CDC, find out your community COVID risk levels here​. The CDC is currently recommending the use of masks to reduce risk of COVID infection for high-risk communities. Updates on CDC masking recommendations can be found here​. 

Students at Rutgers will continue to have access to two free tests a week and will be asked to self-report positive COVID tests to Rutgers. Students and staff who obtained a vaccine waiver are still required to test once a week. Vaccinated faculty and staff are responsible for testing themselves if they choose to do so. Students, staff, and faculty who did not obtain a waiver are mandated to have the initial vaccine dose and one booster shot, but are not required to obtain subsequent booster shots at this time. Rutgers does not currently have any set criteria for re-instituting the mask mandate, but said it is a possibility.

Rutgers Employees with medical conditions which require minimizing risk to illness exposure may seek an accommodation request through the Office of Equity Employment​. 

Anyone wishing to minimize their risk of contracting COVID (and other viruses which are believed to be spread through the air like the cold​ and flu​) may find these resources helpful:

– The CDC COVID Precautions for People who are Immunocompromised​ site may be helpful for members who are high-risk, have loved ones who are high-risk, or just wish to take precautions.

– This COVID tracker​ available through a non-profit organization which partners with several reputable research universities uses CDC guidelines as well as additional information to report COVID community-level risks.

Categories
Civil Rights Health & Safety

Disability Aware? Not Rutgers.

At the beginning of October Rutgers announced a university-wide commemoration of Disability Awareness Month. Raising awareness is an important step towards a more inclusive and just world for people with disabilities but it is not enough: We need the university to take action and demonstrate that it values access and inclusion for disabled people year round. There can be no sincere commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion without concern for disability.

With the confusing roll-out of the FlexWork pilot program as well as the sudden lifting of the student mask mandate, Rutgers left immunocompromised staff who work in shared office settings, employees with student-facing jobs, students who must attend class in-person, and faculty who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19 infection in a difficult situation: not having enough time to obtain accommodations necessary after changes to schedules demanding more time in-office and the lifting mask mandates.

At the start of the October Disability Awareness Month, our unions proposed a rule whereby individual instructors could retain the discretion to require masks in their individual classrooms – a practice at neighboring institutions. As Disability Awareness Month nears its end, Rutgers administration appears to be interested only in performative gestures. When immunocompromised faculty raised concerns about the abrupt change in policy and institutional messaging, as early as September, this administration left our most vulnerable colleagues, students, and staff out to dry. To do so on October 1, or Day 1 of Disability Awareness Month, suggests that Rutgers is not, in fact, disability aware, and is not prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion.

The lack of awareness and action to meet the needs of disabled Rutgers employees and community members extends beyond COVID-19 risk. Staff report finding mold and insect infestations in their buildings impacting those with allergies and respiratory issues. University buildings and rental properties have entrances which are difficult to navigate if using mobility aids and are inconsistently accessible. Lack of remote work options disenfranchises disabled workers, something an expert on disabilities from Rutgers has pointed out. Options for accessible parking are limited and not always close to office spaces. Rutgers employees going through the accommodation request process have described the Office of Employment Equity as lacking awareness and understanding of the nature of their disabilities and their accommodation needs. Increases in health insurance premiums for Rutgers employees will disproportionately impact people with chronic health issues. Employees also report an ableist or non-inclusive tone in Rutgers communications about issues that impact people with disabilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront multiple ways the university has failed to demonstrate an awareness of the needs of people with disabilities. Now is the time for Rutgers to raise awareness and take action to create an inclusive, beloved community for all or risk increased attrition and unqualified labor pool. The university must consult with Rutgers’ unions in order to assess how changes in remote work policy, current infrastructure, and the accommodations process adversely impact not only disabled people but also the entire Rutgers community and provide solutions that minimize barriers to access

.The URA-AFT Health and Safety Committee

Christine O’Connell, President URA-AFT, Local 1766

Amy Higer, President PTLFC-AAUP-AFT

Rebecca Givan, President, AAUP-AFT

AAUP-AFT health and safety committee

Kathleen Hernandez, EVP CWA Local 1031, AFL-CIO

Diomedes Tsitouras, Executive Director AAUP-BHSNJ

Ryan Novosielski & Justin O’Hea, Co-Presidents, HPAE Local 5094

Tzeidel Eichenberg, Delegate, CIR
Helen Lu, Delegate, CIR
Alexandria Ali Cooper, Delegate, CIR Kevin Pineda, Delegate, CIR
Committee of Interns and Residents, SEIU

Frank P. Proscia, M.D., President, Doctors Council, SEIU

Categories
Health & Safety

Workplace Health & Safety Checklist

The URA-AFT Health & Safety Committee encourages URA-AFT members to complete the checklist for each workplace at Rutgers University. This checklist is a guide to assist URA-AFT members in identifying basic health and safety-related concerns commonly observed in workplaces via a regular safety walkthrough. Please direct any questions to safety@ura-aft.org.

View the checklist here: online form | PDF download.

Categories
Health & Safety

“My Office A/C is Broken, Now What?”

Here’s what you should do if you are forced to work in extreme indoor temperatures:

  1. Immediately report the issue to REHS and make a facilities work order
  2. Notify your supervisor that you are reporting a safety violation and object to working under unsafe conditions until the repairs are complete:

    “I object to working under extreme temperatures that deviate from the recommendations of OSHA and PEOSH because it can or has already impacted my health and safety and will cause an eminent continued threat to my wellbeing.  As an alternative, I intend to leave the workplace and continue working remotely if/until the work environment is safe.  Moving forward, working remotely is the safest option until the HVAC is fully operational.”

    Reference: OSHA recommends temperature control in the range of 68-76° F and humidity control in the range of 20%-60%. Rutgers, as a public employer, is required to uphold a general duty of maintaining a workplace free from hazards according to PEOSH. Compliance with the OSHA recommendation will fulfill that duty. Violations may be reported to PEOSH at: https://www.nj.gov/health/workplacehealthandsafety/peosh/compform.shtml.
  1. If you’ve already experienced illness from the extreme heat conditions, notify your supervisor that you are feeling ill and must leave sick for the rest of the day. Request that the absence be precessed though the Occupational Health Department and that you should not be made to use your own sick time.
Categories
2014 Contract Health & Safety URA Contract Win

An MRI is No Day at the Beach! URA-AFT Wins Use of Sick Time for Medical and Dental Appointments

The URA has reached a settlement in a class action grievance over sick time for our members. On September 21, 2016, URA representatives signed an agreement with Rutgers management that will bring compassion, and common sense into use of sick time.

Here is the important language:

URA-AFT employees may use their accrued sick time to get more info here and  get a pre-planned medical and dental appointments provided that the employee submits a request as soon as is practical, with the expectation that the employee shall provide at least one week’s notice if possible. Requests shall not be unreasonably denied. All requests shall be consistent with medical confidentiality.

Using sick time for your medical and for dental needs — isn’t that common sense?

How will it work?

The settlement agreement guarantees your right to use sick time when you have a medical or dental visit— no matter the nature of the visit.