The Rutgers MOA and our Contract Negotiations

By now, you have all probably received the Rutgers Integration email from Vivian Fernandez, Rutgers Vice President for Faculty & Staff Resources, about the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding alignment of Workforce Systems and Benefits and you may have a number of questions.

Some things you should be aware of:

– To date, HPAE has not reached agreement with Rutgers for a successor contract. We are still in negotiations.

– The MOA reached with three Rutgers bargaining units is not a successor contract. Those unions must still negotiate full agreements with the University.

– At our negotiations, HPAE has proposed tuition remission for bargaining unit employees and their dependents. Rutgers administration has rejected this proposal.

– The tuition remission referred to in management’s email is only for dependent children – not for Rutgers employees.

– Rutgers could agree to give your children tuition remission at any time, and the Union would not object.

– In their negotiations with some Rutgers Legacy unions, management has proposed eliminating tuition remission for Rutgers employees.

– Management insists that the terms of the MOA will not be negotiated at the bargaining table despite the fact that they deal with terms and conditions of employment and mandatory subjects of bargaining.

– The MOA will change how your pay is calculated, resulting in a reduction in your daily rate of pay.

– The MOA deals with a number of other payroll issues, including holdback pay that eventually could require employees to payback one week’s pay to the University.

– The MOA takes away Good Friday as a holiday and allows management to determine when you use four of your holidays.

– Management is pressuring HPAE and other UMDNJ Legacy Unions to agree to the same MOA without negotiating with the union.

– We feel the MOA contains potentially significant economic concessions that we should have the right to negotiate over especially in light of management’s most recent wage proposal of only 1% a year.

– We have a number of other proposals on the table to align benefits like sick time, bereavement and reduced parking costs that management continues to reject and instead they have proposed cutbacks to vacation time and gutting our seniority rights.

– Since we have not agreed to the MOA, management is now appealing directly to our membership to put pressure on our negotiating committee to agree.

These decisions should be made at the bargaining table and we can’t let management pressure us into making a bad decision by trying to divide us.

We want a fair contract now and are ready and able to negotiate the full contract with the University.

Posted November 13, 2014