Higher Education

What Do You Think About RU’s Merger with UMDNJ? With Rowan? URA Members Speak Out

“What do you think about RU’s Merger with UMDNJ and the possibility of losing Camden and risking Newark?’

One URA member had this to say:

“The Presidential Search representatives were on the Camden campus yesterday and many in attendance voiced concerns about the rumored splitting of the University. In addition to the need for settling labor contracts to retain quality workers and faculty, the mergers were the hottest topic of discussion.

“In Camden, the consensus is that, in the absence of real investment, our campus will not grow to the size of Newark so our voices will not be heard, let alone respected. Rutgers had the opportunity to partner with the UMDNJ medical school in Camden but declined because it wanted the medical school to be in New Brunswick. Now it has the opportunity to get what it wanted so it might as well, or our loss was for nothing. That decision was indicative of the general attitude toward the Camden campus, and we are not unaware of it.

“However, all here acknowledge that only the Rutgers name brings the quality of teachers and students we have on this campus in this city with its terrible reputation. Without the name ‘Rutgers,’ it is feared this campus will take many years to recover from the loss of faculty, students and staff – if it ever does. We feel that if the powers that be decide to divest itself from Camden, it should do so from Newark as well – focus entirely on the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus, but call itself ‘Rutgers University’ instead. ‘The State University of New Jersey’ should be dropped if it chooses to eliminate the campus that makes its education and research accessible to the entire southern half of this state. Or, if it retains Newark, call it ‘Rutgers, The State University of North Jersey.’

“That being said, it is our hope that those in power recognize the value of both the Camden and Newark campuses, and commit to making the quality of these campuses on par with that of the main campus, so a Rutgers education is accessible to the entire state. This campus is proud to be, and we wish to continue being, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.”

And another member said this:

“One Word—TIMING. I believe that the merger of UMDNJ and Rutgers could be a very positive union for the State of New Jersey and for both parties involved. However, timing is everything. And this is not the right time to merge these two businesses and hope to have a smooth transition.

“Several reasons come to mind.

“First, Rutgers is currently dealing with the resignation of our President. How can you acquire a business as large as UMDNJ with no leadership.

“Second, the year 2012 is a politically driven year and politics will be foremost in creating negative, not positive effects on a merger.

“Third, the addition of 5,000 more employees to a failed payroll system (yes failed, not even remotely working successfully) will probably be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We are in payroll crisis with our own RU employees. A sad example: one employee recently spent about a month trying to get a paycheck, so went without pay all that time and sent letter after letter trying to get paid. When the paycheck finally arrived, the amount on it was 76 cents. We have a failed system, not a failing system.

“Fourth, there are Rutgers employees who have been totally faithful to the University and have come to work and done their jobs day in and day out. Yet most of them have not seen a raise in over three years and some even longer. So the University is going to bring on board 5,000 new employees? And where is all the money coming from to pay these individuals since UMDNJ supposedly pays higher wages than Rutgers University? If there is no money to give raises to loyal RU workers, how can the University suddenly have the money to pay 5,000 more?

“So would the merger benefit Rutgers University in the long run? Probably so. If we merged with UMDNJ right now, would the merger be successful? Not so much.

“Take care of your own first. Help Rutgers University rebuild a strong, appreciated faculty and staff. Emphasis on appreciated, because right now a lot of us feel like trash that is being thrown away in those delightful new petite waste receptacles. Not the recyclable side, but the ‘waste only’ bin. Fix what is still fixable and leave the merger for another day.”


Join the Final Push to GET OUT THE VOTE for the State Legislature Elections

From now to November 8

Every Saturday morning from 9:00AM to 12:00PM our union members are visiting union households in key districts.

After work our union members are calling union households in key districts.

Through funding provided by the Committee on Political Education (COPE), URA members can receive $50 stipends for labor walks and $25 stipends for phone banks.

Pay Freeze Videos

Video: Rutgers 1 Says ‘Freeze Tuition, Not Salaries’

Benefits Social Justice Videos

Video: Lucye Millerand


Need to Make Decisions About Retirement Systems or State Benefits?

Visit the State Treasury Division of Pensions and Benefits at to find publications and online services.

If you are faced with the decision to leave PERS for ABP, Rutgers UHR has a good comparison chart at and the State has an information booklet at

Benefits Social Justice

Video: Kathryn Neal

Pay Freeze Social Justice Videos

Video: Rutgers BOG shuts out students

Rutgers board members close meeting by erecting temporary wall after audience becomes angry

URA Contract

New Vacation Policy a Win for URA


When Rutgers management rolls out a new vacation policy this week URA Rutgers employees will benefit from a streamlined process for earning and using vacation days. Stated simply: “As of July 2010, employees will be able to use accrued vacation time as soon as the time is credited – i.e. the following month.”

The new policy will establish that: “Requests for vacations shall not be unreasonably denied.” Many members have reported that supervisors have refused requests for vacation so often, and so unfairly, that they end up carrying over vacation time until they lose it. URA unit members (but not the non-unionized supervisory and professional staff) will also gain important protections against forfeiting vacation days, interrupted vacations, and managers who will not approve requests for vacation.

Some members have also been called while on vacation by supervisors who want them to return to the office, sometimes for trivial reasons such as: “I forgot my password.” The URA’s letter of agreement states that employees may be called back from vacation only in an emergency where they are the only employee who can remedy the situation. The agreement goes on to guarantee that an employee who is unable to return from vacation, in case of an emergency at work will not be subject to discipline.

Employees who make a written request for vacation will be entitled to a written response within 14 days of their request.

The letter of agreement was negotiated by a team made up of President Lucye Millerand, Newark Campus vice president Darlene Smith, New Brunswick executive board member Joyce Sagi and Camden steward Cynthia Davidson. Many URA stewards and members provided input on their needs and concerns.

You should soon be able to find the new vacation policy 60.3.10 in the university policy library, and read the  URA agreement here.