2022 Contract Uncategorized

Contract Negotiations Membership Escalation Plan 2022-2023

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Our union is negotiating for these critical bargaining demands:

  1. Raises and longevity pay;
  2. Telework with fairness for non-remote staff;
  3. Reduce employee’s portion of health insurance premiums; and,
  4. Well-defined career paths for staff.

Escalating Action

A Union escalation plan guides members in putting pressure on the employer to secure a fair, negotiated contract.

Actions are taken on a schedule that escalates pressure on management in various ways to express that we deserve a fair contract and to show what we are worth.


Our contract campaign is based on the following principles:

  • Majority Membership Decision-making that leads to actions performed by a largerand larger number of members.
  • Concerted Action for Healthy Boundaries: adhering to work-to-rule by doing the jobs we are paid for, and no more:
    o No additional responsibilities without additional compensation; o Arriving on-time, but not early;
    o Taking a full lunch break away from the desk;
    o Leaving on-time, but not late.
  • Workplace Actions: visibility and protest actions that carry our message to management and the public. We will build greater member participation and commitment until we approve a fair contract.
  • Staff-centered Timeline and Tactics which respect our labor coalition partners.

Goals and Principles approved February 13, 2023 General Membership Meeting


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.


What The Flex? URA-AFT Staff Toolkit

The roll out of Rutgers Management’s FlexWork@RU initiative is a mess.
Management has not negotiated this policy with the affected unions and so what’s supposed to be a “flexible work arrangement” is more accurately, a top-down directive on our work arrangements for the next year. Across Rutgers University staff are seeing Management not even follow the conditions of its own program. What the Flex!?

Use this What the Flex? URA-AFT Staff Toolkit to help you navigate this pilot program, learn about the process and all the options you have to ensure your voice is heard when making decisions about “flexible work arrangements.”


Call For Health Insurance Relief

Healthcare contributions are going up. Open Enrollment has begun. Don’t choose until you know.

Our fight for affordable healthcare continues. We can each play a role in protecting health insurance costs right now.

Be sure to call the Governor’s office and ask him to use remaining American Rescue Plan Funds to provide relief from this increase and the harm to our members who are already struggling and working without a contract. Call Governor Murphy at 833-479-1993.

Call on your break or at lunch – not after hours. You’ll be connected with the Governor’s staff.

Tell them:

My name is ______________ and I work at Rutgers in (Dept.). I am calling to ask the Governor to use ARP and any other budgetary funds to stop any increase to my healthcare contributions. Any relief provided for towns and municipalities must include Rutgers employees. Thank you.


NJ’s public workers rally in Trenton to protest historic health insurance increase

Katie Sobko of Gannett’s Trenton Bureau covered the Sept. 13 rally calling for fairness in health care costs. 

Christine O’Connell, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators-American Federation of Teachers, said the health care increase would effectively translate to a pay cut, “so if they want to charge more, they need to pay us more.”

The Coalition of Rutgers Unions includes more than 11,000 members and has been negotiating a contract with the university. O’Connell noted that the school gets “tons of state and federal money.”

“They just want to pass on costs to the workers that make the university work, from the dining services and student counselors to residence life,” O’Connell said.

Then, referring to a recent investigation into lavish spending on food delivery by Rutgers football, she added: “We don’t have access to free DoorDash or any of those perks.”


Student Debt Relief

The Biden-Harris administration will cancel up to $20,000 for borrowers who received Pell grants as students, and up to $10,000 for individuals earning less than $125,000 annually and households earning less than $250,000. The administration has also proposed changes to income-driven repayment systems and permanent fixes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which will be life-changing for millions of borrowers. Here are the Education Department statement and the White House fact sheet. In the coming weeks, we will continue to share more information about how borrowers can easily access these new types of loan forgiveness. Here is what your members need to do now to take steps to access this relief. 

  1. Most important, make sure all their information is up-to-date on the federal student loan website and with their loan servicers, because some loan forgiveness will be automatic. 
  2. Sign up for Summer, an online student loan management platform, as soon as possible. This exclusive AFT member benefit will provide individual support to help members untangle all the loan repayment plans and rules and get on a path to loan forgiveness through their union. 
  3. Attend a weekly student debt webinar. These are held every Thursday at 7 p.m. and cover the latest student debt information in detail. Register here.

The AFT will be keeping members updated as Federal Student Aid rolls out the paperwork necessary to apply for the relief announced yesterday. We will be sharing more information as we receive it. To obtain the up-to-$20,000 in cancellation, most borrowers will have to complete an application that will be made available by Dec. 31, 2022 via the federal student loan website. Also on Dec. 31, the pause on student loans payments is scheduled to end. Members should expect that payments will resume beginning Jan. 1, 2023. 

Yesterday’s announcement did not change the deadline to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness under a limited waiver; all borrowers must  apply by Oct. 31, 2022. Everyone working in public service who has federal student debt can and should apply for PSLF immediately. AFT members can do this and get free help by signing up for Summer.


NJ State House Rally September 13th

Fight the Drastic Increase to Our Health Benefits Contributions!

All are welcome! Bring your coworkers, your family, your congregation, your community to fight to keep our healthcare affordable! Wear your union colors!

Tuesday, September 13 Statehouse Annex

12pm noon Trenton, NJ


Say ‘No’ to health insurance increases

Your health insurance costs are going up unless we act together to stop it. We call on all URA negotiations unit employees to Call the Governor to say “No” to health insurance cost increases!

The NJ State Health Benefits Commission received a preliminary recommendation to increase premiums for state and local government health benefits plans by approximately 21% starting in 2023. These are preliminary recommendations; no final rates have been set yet. The recommendations and the data on which they are based are under close review now.

Despite the State surplus over the past fiscal year and the amount of Federal aid that has come to NJ, Horizon and the Governor’s office is proposing to increase your health insurance simply because our members are using the benefits they already pay into now that doctors offices and hospitals have opened back up. 

We are asking all URA negotiations unit employees to call the Governor’s office and let him know this is unacceptable. Use savings from 2020 and 2021.  Use federal COVID funds to cover increases in costs. 

Call the Governor’s office now at 833–479‑1993!


Mental Health First and Wellness

Stress … Grief … Fear … “The New Normal” … are all around us. 

URA-AFT invites you to Mental Health First Aid and Wellness with Mr. Leven Chuck Wilson, MSW, DHL, Assistant Director, AFT Health Issues.

Skills for staff to nourish our own mental wellness at work, and support others to do the same. 

July 26 – Newark, Room 020, CLJ Building 
July 27 – New Brunswick,  Room 115, Labor Education Center, Cook Campus

12:00- 4 p.m. Lunch will be provided. 

RSVP by July 22, to 

Union release time is available for URA building reps and stewards. 

In order to provide better mental health and wellness support for our members, URA is looking to build our own Mental Health First Aid team.  If you are willing to commit to this, with ongoing training and a commitment to assist at least two members who may be referred to you , contact  Release time can be provided for those volunteers. 

If you are primarily interested in learning for your own wellness, you will need to use your own time.  We promise it will be a great mental health day.


Reproductive Rights = Workers Rights

URA-AFT supports reproductive choice and stands with people seeking access to abortion and related health care. Workers must have the right to make the profoundly personal choice of whether and when to bear children. The overturning of Roe vs. Wade is dangerous and directly impacts the right to privacy of our members. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization court opinions put at risk privacy-enshrined rights to contraception, interracial marriage and same-sex marriage. 

We stand in solidarity in the fight for reproductive justice and join fellow unions calling on legislators to take immediate steps to codify the federal right to abortion. We call on our U.S. Senators to protect reproductive rights and due process of law by ending the Senate filibuster rule. This crucial action can help end minority rule in the United States and open the door to government of, by and for the people. 

As state and federal governments enact laws that attack working people, URA-AFT will continue to fight for the issues which impact our members and the communities in which we live.