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.