Tomorrow, June 17th, the State of New Jersey will observe Juneteenth for the second time since it was made a state holiday by Governor Murphy in September of 2020, now celebrated by the state each year on the third Friday in June. The following year, President Biden also made Juneteenth a federal holiday, as of June 2021. The federal holiday is observed on the anniversary of the original Juneteenth celebration – June 19th 1865, sometimes referred to as “Emancipation Day” – where it marked the day the people of Texas were notified that slaves shall be freed, a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. See this article for more details on the long history of this holiday, and read here about Opal Lee, often called “The Grandmother of Juneteenth” and the story of her tireless work to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
Unfortunately, the Juneteenth holiday at University Hospital is not yet realized. The Hospital approached your local leadership earlier this week proposing to observe Juneteenth starting in 2023, but only in exchange for giving up the current Good Friday holiday. The Hospital did eventually offer to designate Juneteenth a “premium holiday” where hours worked by hourly workers are compensated at the time-and-a-half overtime rate (see section 7.04 of the contact for details), but that leaves out any benefit to our salaried members, and many members we spoke with value the existing Good Friday holiday. Our position remains the same as it was during contract negotiations: University Hospital should negotiate with us to observe this holiday, should agree to compensate us at the holiday rate, and should not ask us to pay for it by agreeing to give up any existing holiday. This is something that many other employers have already done, including Rutgers University, and the State of New Jersey. Particularly considering what University Hospital employees have been through during these past two years of pandemic, and given University Hospital’s origin story in the City of Newark, honoring this holiday is simply the right thing to do.
Our goal is to for University Hospital to observe Juneteenth as an additional holiday, and we’ll need your help to make it a reality. Please contact your union representative if you would like to get involved, or have ideas to share.
Wage Increase/Retroactive Pay Update
By now, everyone should have received the negotiated 3% salary increase as of the May 8th to 21st pay period. We apologize for the earlier misunderstanding that announced that these increases wouldn’t be paid until late June. The easiest way to confirm that you have received this increase is to visit the my.UHNJ portal under the “Self Service Banner” section, and click your current job title under “Employee Main Menu→Current and Past Jobs.” You should see a salary increase with an Effective Date of 5/8/2022 that reflects the 3% increase, and your current salary or hourly rate should match your grade and step on the PS or PH salary scale, respectively, found here: https://uhnj.org/hrweb/compensation/salaryscales.htm. If something doesn’t seem right, or you need any assistance, please contact your union representative. Contact information can be found on our website at https://5094uhhpae.org.
We’ve been told that UH has projected that the retroactive portion of this increase should be paid by the first pay period in July for salaried staff, and the first pay period in August for hourly employees. We will share any further information we receive in the meantime. We realize that this process has not been as smooth or timely as it should be, and will work to negotiate clearer language about the implementation of salary increases when we negotiate our next contract in 2024.
Ryan Novosielski, HPAE Local 5094 Co-President
Roshni Danak, HPAE Local 5094 Co-Secretary
Judy Vincenty, HPAE Local 5094 UH Committee Chair