Local Elections Results

The Elections Committee has verified the results from Election Runner online voting for the URA-AFT Officer Election. The following candidates received a majority of votes for the offices/positions they sought: 

PRESIDENT — Christine O’Connell 

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT — Lucye Millerand 

SECRETARY — Josephine Nagle 

TREASURER — Justin K. Esperon 

VICE PRESIDENT, CAMDEN — Mikaela Maria 

VICE PRESIDENT, NEWARK — Ginny Caputo 

VICE PRESIDENT, NEW BRUNSWICK / PISCATAWAY — Leigh-Anne Cobb 

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER, CAMDEN — Diana Byrd

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER, NEWARK — Joshua Eaise 

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER, OFF CAMPUS — No nominees 

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER, NEW BRUNSWICK — Charles Basden; Jason Jordan; Barbara Nowakowski; Helen F. Pirrello; Kay Schechter

URA Health and Safety Survey Analysis Report

Click here for a PDF of the Survey Results (redacted for privacy)

In July 2021, we asked our members to complete a survey regarding health and safety within the context of a return to campus.  These survey results gave us an initial glimpse into your concerns about workplace health and safety issues in the university and in your individual buildings.  Below please find a narrative of the survey results. 

A total number of 541 URA members responded to our survey.  While the demographics of departments varied, it appeared to be proportionately representative of the breakdown of members, with the majority of respondents working in the administrative/support and student services areas.  The data was spread across campuses as well, with between 25–30 percent of the responses coming from Newark and/or Camden.

At the time of the surveys, many of our members did not feel they had the resources or information necessary to do their jobs safely.  Lack of clear and consistent communication, combined with inconsistent protocols, indicated that many of our members did not know exactly what the rules were or what to do if they saw them being broken.  For example, almost 50 percent (242) of our members answered “not sure/don’t know” when asked if there was a formal and transparent process in place for employees in your building/department to offer suggestions or report concerns.  Likewise, more than 200 respondents answered “no” when asked if they felt that Rutgers had encouraged them to speak up without fear of retaliation.  The responses from members regarding satisfaction with communication varied widely, indicating that some departments and supervisors are communicating effectively, and some are not.  The overall feeling is that information from the university itself has been inconsistent and unclear.

Most members felt they should have some input into their work situations, and most also said they, personally, had not been consulted or surveyed before being required to return.  Likewise, most members indicated they had little input into the circumstances (i.e., hybrid scheduling, continued telecommuting, etc.) of their return.  This is consistent with what is going on around the country, with more employees feeling they should have something to say about how they work. 

Most members, generally more than 50%, were aware of Covid protocols (testing, vaccination upload, etc.), and while most were okay with the vaccine mandate, it still should be noted that there was significant concern over a lack of consistency, inaccurate, and/or incomplete information.  This indicates that the university is not doing all it can to make sure this information is accessible and presented to all employees. Almost 30% of respondents felt that the requirement to upload vaccination cards was a violation of privacy, while an additional 15% were not sure.

It is concerning that many of our members indicated they lacked knowledge or information about their own particular circumstances, whether it be the protocols they had to follow, the process for reporting a violation, the HVAC system in their buildings, or other circumstances. 

Once again, thank you for completing this survey — in addition to assisting us in creating a new survey based on these results, this information will be used to identify workplace solutions through collaboration with other offices, as well as assisting us in our collective bargaining and job actions. 

What’s the Deal with Expanded Sick Time Usage?

Your child was sent home from school for two weeks, your husband was exposed to COVID and has symptoms, or you need to self-quarantine.  You can use your own sick time for any of these options.  In short, try to telecommute first.  If telecommuting is not an option, use sick time instead.

  1. Article 44 – Sick Leave of the URA-AFT Agreement is already strong.  Even pre-pandemic, you could use your own sick time to care for yourself if you were ill or injured.  The only requirement in Article 44 is to call out no less than 15 minutes before your work day starts.  Doctor’s notes can be requested by a supervisor but cannot be a requirement for using your earned sick days.
  • Article 44 always permitted 15 days to care for family or pick up a child from school. You might need to fill out the form in Appendix I or have the school nurse sign off.
  • Article 44 always permitted sick days for medical, dental and wellness visits.  COVID testing and vaccination visits count as medical visits too. You can use sick time for planned or unplanned visits for medical or dental reasons or for wellness visits. If unplanned, use the same 15 minute advanced call out rule (or inform your supervisor that you are ill and need to leave early for the day).
  • For remaining needs related to COVID, Sick Leave Expansion is in effect through December 31.  Refer to Vivian Fernandez’ memo announcing the temporary expansion of permissible use of accrued paid sick time.  10 days are allowed for quarantine even if you are not actually sick.  Unlimited sick time can be used for school closure or child care necessities.
  • If you have no remaining sick days, consider applying for an unpaid leave of absence or using remaining V, PH or AL days.  You might also be eligible for the New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance, Family Leave Insurance or Unemployment Insurance programs while on unpaid leave status (check with the New Jersey Department of Labor directly). Article 22 of our union contract allows for requests for unpaid leave for personal reasons.
  • Having issues with using these benefits? If your supervisor is being unreasonable, contact union@ura-aft.org immediately.

Reference: 

Local 1766