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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.

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2022 Contract Off Campus

RSVP for URA Training AND Holiday Party on December 12

December 12 is going to be a busy day! Learn, build our union and come together as friends. 

RSVP for all events >>

  • Steward/Building Rep Training 1:00 to 4:00 p.m: A steward-building rep training on membership conversations and contract enforcement. Stewards and building reps will learn how to converse with their colleagues on union related topics including our contractual protections on excessive workload. 
  • Mental Health Peer Promoter Training 1:00 to 4:00 p.m: All members are invited to train as mental health peer promoters. Mental health and wellness in the workplace affect us all. Learn skills to use and share. 

When you commit to attend either of these trainings, we will provide release time so you don’t have to use your own paid time off. Provide your supervisor’s name and email on the RSVP to expedite processing. 

  • Dec 12 Holiday Social at Pino’s, 13 N 4th Ave. Highland Park 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.: Then, join our Holiday Social on Monday, December 12, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., at Pino’s Lounge. Food, drinks, and time to have some joyful conversations as we look forward to a much-deserved holiday break. All members are welcome. 

RSVP for all events >>

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2022 Contract

November Bargaining Update

Our communications committee has created this easy one page document so you know what we are fighting for in our successor contract. In order to achieve a strong contract, we must all step in to fight for it together.  

Download >>

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2022 Contract

Tell the BOG: Bargain A Fair Contract

URA members have been working for 161 days without a contract as of Dec. 6. Despite this, our members have continued to provide invaluable services to this institution, ensuring that our students are admitted, housed, fed, counseled, and guided towards graduation. Management has continued this pattern of surface bargaining even as we, like other workers at this university, experience record levels of inflation, confront staffing shortages that increase our members’ workloads, and will soon be burdened with rising healthcare costs that Rutgers has done nothing to alleviate. Please sign on to tell Tell Rutgers Board of Governors to direct management to bargain a fair contract.

Sign and share >>

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2022 Contract

Come to December 6 BOG Action

We have been working without a contract since July 1, 2022. We are doing more, but our pay doesn’t go as far as even a year ago. We offer serious, important proposals when we bargain. Management’s response? NO, or even worse, no response. 

It is time the Board of Governors hear our frustration. Gather with staff, faculty and students on December 6 at 11:30am in New Brunswick to march from Voorhees Mall to rally at Winants Hall and in Newark outside the Robeson Campus Center.We are only as strong as we are together and will make change collectively.

Sign up to come to the action >>

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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.

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Uncategorized

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.”

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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

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Uncategorized

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.

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Uncategorized

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 NorthJersey.com 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.”