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
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 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
Win

You Can’t Be Fired For Being Sick

Rutgers management have finally agreed, officially, that workers who have sick time accrued can use that time if they are sick or injured.  

At a Labor Management Conference in October, One Source/UHR reps conceded that this was an “error.” It’s up to all of us who use medical leave to be sure this “error” stays corrected.

This should not be news, but over the years, URA members have been wrongly told that if we exceeded our FMLA job protection, we were at risk of losing our jobs. This has even happened to some workers who had a hundred or more days of sick time on the books.

If you have sick time accrued, you have the right to use it. You cannot lose your job, or be disciplined for using your sick time. 

What you must do is document your medical provider’s assessment that you are not ready to come back to work. It may happen that you are not able to return to work but you are having trouble getting that assessment in writing from your doctor. A specialist may be very busy, or you may have a sudden setback. If so: reach out to OneSource and to your department IN WRITING, or have a family member reach out. Contact your union rep to build the record that you are doing your best to provide a new return-to-work date.

This is NOT a matter for the ADA accommodation process. Do not request an ADA accommodation to use your sick time. 

Union reps are also continuing the conversation with management about how medical leave is managed once paid time off is used up. If you have concerns or examples of how your case was managed by One Source/HR, please contact union@ura-aft.org

Categories
Win

Retirees Receive Retro Raises

“I was so thankful to hear we would be receiving retro pay,” said Sylvia Krieger, who retired from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) on Busch Campus last July. “I didn’t think I would see that happen and was grateful to hear you fought for us to get it.”

Due to the timing of the agreement of the URA contract and member ratification, URA members who retired in July, August or September were told by UHR that they were ineligible for the FY23 4% raise.

After months of fighting with management, URA won retirees from those months the 4% raises retroactively. Especially for PERS retirees, this win will have a direct and permanent benefit on pension earnings. 

URA advocacy doesn’t end when members separate from Rutgers. If there are wrongs, we continue to fight, and those fights can take years for a remedy.

Krieger said she plan to use the money for a trip. “Thank you for fighting for us,” she said. “I really recommend that those who are not members of the union, should join,” she said. “You will get what you deserve and not being in the union, you will not have anyone advocating for you.”

Categories
Win

URA Co-Ads Underpaid by $275K, Made Whole With Grievance Settlement

Earning extra pay as a co-adjutant is not uncommon among our members—it is a great way to earn extra pay and gain teaching experience.  But in late 2018, Rutgers suddenly stopped allowing co-adjutant appointments for non-exempt staff.  We filed grievances with the help of members who shared paystubs, emails and experiences.  Thanks to this collective effort, Rutgers had to perform an audit.  It revealed that about 100 URA co-ads were being underpaid all along.   We settled the grievances recently, and members were able to pick up their checks in December before the holiday break!  

Bill Scharf (New Brunswick) who received the largest check and taught many sections of anatomy had this to say: Of course the money was wonderful, but equally valuable was that I no longer felt like it was “David versus Goliath.”  The Union support psychologically made the playing field a great deal more level.

Camden
Newark Co-Adjunct settlement
New Brunswick Co-Adjunct settlement 1
New Brunswick Co-Adjunct settlement 2
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.