Takeaway:Follow the science and help keep our staff colleagues safe by staying home. We’re writing this joint message to you across unions because it’s that important for the health and safety of us all.
Please stay home. Many of our staff colleagues are still on campus cleaning buildings and supporting our technology needs so that most of us can work from home in safety. They do not need you on campus. If we stay home, then more of them can stay home in safety. We are all anxious and concerned for our health, so we should all think of others as we try to continue our work.
The science tells us what is most needed right now is to “flatten the curve” and to practice social distancing. Anyone who doesn’t need to be on campus should stay home. If you are teaching online, do not come to campus – contact OIT from your home if you need technical support. You can do your administrative work from home, so please do not go into your office. If you can do your research from home, or can suspend it, please do. If anyone absolutely needs to come to campus, even to pick something up, you should notify your chair, director or a supervisor. This will help Facilities and OIT know which buildings are being accessed and thus need to be cleaned. Our staff colleagues and their families will really appreciate your cooperation.
According to an email dated March 19, 2020, all employees are eligible to telecommute. If you can, as staff, please fill out the paperwork and request to work from home. If you are denied, contact your respective union and we will fight for your health and safety. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107 expressly says that Rutgers “should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.”
Management’s position is that work rules and the nature of work for faculty may be different than staff. If any of us have concerns, they can only work with us if we make them aware of the specifics. They’ll say that the university is “open” so staff employees must have a telecommuting plan on file, an approved leave, or be at work. They’ll say that they’ve relaxed work and leave policies in order to maximize social distancing and we should be working together to advance solutions. Bottom line for us, though, is that we all have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment.
We are all in this together, but we really should stay away from one another as much as possible. Our cooperation through distancing ourselves is an odd but powerful way to show our unity across faculty, grad workers, staff and students.
Todd, Christine and Daniel
Todd Wolfson, President
Christine O’Connell, President
URA-AFT, Local 1766
Daniel Duffy, President
AFSCME Local 888