“Christie-Proof” No Layoff Agreement Upheld by Court!

christie shocked

The New Jersey Appellate Court has issued a decision overturning the Civil Service regulation that caused Paid Leave Benefit (PLB) days to expire.  This decision represents yet another defeat of an attempt by Governor Christie to violate our No Layoff Agreement.

To recap, in 2009, after the market crashed and the country slipped into a recession, CWA negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Governor Corzine in order to protect our members from layoffs. That Agreement traded the delay of a raise for 18 months plus 10 furlough days in exchange for a multi-year no layoff agreement plus 7.5 Paid Leave Bank Days that could be carried over indefinitely.  Thousands of jobs were saved in the process.

There were other provisions, but the main focus when we bargained the MOA was that any agreement must be “Christie-proof”. We knew there was going to be an election and we had to protect members if Christie were to become Governor.
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Election Committee News

CWA-Local-1037The CWA Local 1037 Election Committee has certified the results of candidates running for office on the Local’s Executive Board. As per article XIV, G of the bylaws, “If there is only one candidate nominated for office no election shall be held and that candidate shall be certified to office by the Election Committee and shall be installed to his/her office at the next Membership Meeting.”  You can download a copy of the tentative certificate of results here.

For members employed by the Passaic County Board of Social Services, an election for your bargaining unit Vice President is being conducted. If you do not receive your ballot and instructions from the Election Committee by Wednesday, September 10, please contact the Local office. Ballots will be counted on Monday, September 22.

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CWA Engages in Peaceful Resistance in Ferguson

CWA activists with community allies demonstrate and sit in at the Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis calling on Gov. Jay Nixon to intervene and demilitarize the police response to demonstrations in Ferguson. The Wainwright is home to CWA represented Missouri Department of Social Services employees and Nixon's St. Louis office. Photo credit: Mark Esters.

CWA activists with community allies demonstrate and sit in at the Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis calling on Gov. Jay Nixon to intervene and demilitarize the police response to demonstrations in Ferguson. The Wainwright is home to CWA represented Missouri Department of Social Services employees and Nixon’s St. Louis office. Photo credit: Mark Esters.

CWA is part of the St. Louis community which includes the suburb Ferguson. Ever since Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9, CWAers, like the rest of the St. Louis community, have found themselves in a whirlwind.

St. Louis is one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. We used to be a great industrial center and Ferguson used to be a middle-class community where nearly everyone could find a good job.

But Ferguson was among the hardest hit communities by the foreclosure crisis. Good union jobs in manufacturing and the service industry have been moving overseas for decades. Public services have been slashed. The school district that serves part of Ferguson has been taken over by the state and is in the process of being privatized. The social services office where CWA Local 6355 members work near Ferguson has seen staffing levels drastically reduced. The state university in St. Louis County has increased tuition and fees by nearly 300 percent since the Great Recession began. Today, 47 percent of young black men in St. Louis can’t find employment.
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CWA’s Next Generation Gather in Pittsburgh

The 1037 Next Gen Caucus Chairperson Emma Claros brought positive New Jersey energy to the rally chanting, “Get up! Get down! Pittsburg is a UNION TOWN!”

The 1037 Next Gen Caucus Chairperson Emma Claros brought positive New Jersey energy to the rally chanting, “Get up! Get down! Pittsburg is a UNION TOWN!”

From Miami to Anchorage the first CWA Next Generation Summit gathered more than 200 CWA members in Pittsburgh. The meeting of CWA activists aged 35 and under, addressed a wide range of issues from non-traditional organizing campaigns happening around the country, to digital media tools, promoting diversity in the labor movement, and training on direct action.

In addition to trainings, panels and workshops, Summit attendees also took to the streets of Pittsburgh in support of a local fight for workers’ rights. The Next Generation Summit turned out to support our brothers and sisters at CWA Local 13000 to kick-off their contract negotiation with Verizon.

“Besides putting Verizon on notice that workers are unafraid, organized, and ready to fight, we were inspired by speeches from Phillip Agnew (Executive Director of Dream Defenders) and Heather Mizeur (member of the Maryland House of Delegates),” said Emma Claros from CWA 1037’s Next Generation Committee. “The challenges are plenty and the fight will be long, but we were also inspired by the sound of our voices as we marched through Pittsburgh chanting, ‘We believe! We believe that we will win!’”

CWA Local 1037’s Next Gen Caucus has big plans for the rest of 2014.  If you’re interested in joining young workers for a meeting, a rally, or just to socialize, join here (http://www.cwa-union.org/issues/entry/c/next-generation),  and follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1469036129980573/).

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The Fight to Save OUR Pensions is NOW!

aDSC_015a7 - CopyOn June 12th, a sea of red t-shirts marched from the War Memorial building to the State House in Trenton to send a loud and clear message to the Governor that CWA is ready to fight for OUR pensions!

This is just the beginning! Over the next few weeks staff representatives and CWA shop stewards will be reaching out to you to engage you in the fight to save our pensions. It is critical that every one of us participates! This fight is too important to sit out – no one gets a pass!

We need to keep the pressure on Christie to “PUT THE MONEY IN!”

Here are some action materials with information about important upcoming events. Please download, print and sign up to participate in as many actions and events as possible:

Please also share this information with other members at your worksite. If you need copies or any other assistance, please call your Staff Rep at the Local, but MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS READY TO FIGHT FOR OUR PENSIONS AND THE RETIREMENT WE’VE ALL WORKED HARD TO ACHIEVE!

Also, if you’d like to review the presentation about the pension lawsuit, you can do so here.

If you were unable to make it to Trenton yesterday, it is VERY important that you contact your Staff Representative immediately.

The Local is here to support your efforts – please call or email us anytime if you have questions, concerns or need further information about the pension fight. As always, we thank you for your continued leadership at the worksite.

In Solidarity,

Ken McNamara

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Sick of Sick Notes: Wayne MVC Workers Score Big Grievance Victory

sickWorkers at the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission have expressed their frustration with agency managers violating their contractual rights at the workplace. While it is clear that a medical note is required when out for three days or more, managers have unilaterally decided to disregard the union contract by requiring workers provide medical documentation for use of one sick day, with no history of abuse of sick time. Workers have also railed against management unreasonably denying vacation time and their refusal to share the vacation schedule calendar with workers.

On March 13, 2014, the workers at the Wayne Motor Vehicle Agency decided to take action and filed a group grievance to address these issues. This grievance impacts agencies across the state. On May 5, the Wayne agency workers prevailed in their grievance won a major victory for themselves and all agency workers.

The grievance, signed by 15 workers, claims a violation of Article 22-6.a of the union contract and reads, “Employees unreasonably denied time off even if sick, need a doctor’s note.”
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Civil Service Moves Forward with Rule Changes

Chris-ChristieThe Civil Service Commission (CSC) – consisting entirely of Chris Christie appointees – recently passed rule changes eliminating most promotional rights for State Workers. The new rules create a system  called “broad banding” which would allow management to completely control who gets promoted & when, and would largely eliminate any appeal rights. (Please see past issues of this newsletter and communications from Local 1037 describing these rules in more detail.)

Remarkably, the CSC took this action in defiance of the Legislature, which invoked its right under the NJ Constitution to block the agency from adopting the new rules. As you may recall, CWA lobbied successfully to have the Legislature to twice pass what are called Continuing Resolutions, stating that they believe the rule changes are in violation of the law. The effect, under our Constitution, is to block the CSC’s action.

The CSC has since cited some very minor changes they made to the rules as evidence as to why they may proceed. Leaders in the Legislature have not agreed and have sent a letter to the CSC stating that they must not move forward with the rule changes and doing so would prompt the Legislature to go into court. If that happens, CWA will likely join the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has moved forward once again with the process to pass further Continuing Resolutions on the “amended” rule changes. These resolutions are making their way through both the Senate and the Assembly. So effectively, even if the court was to agree with the CSC that enough changes were made to nullify the previous resolutions, the new ones would block the latest version of the broad banding rules.

For now, the rule changes have not been implemented. We will keep you posted. Stay tuned!

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Christie Attacks Pension – CWA Fights Back

pensionGovernor Christie has taken steps to cut $900 million due to be paid into the pension system for the current fiscal year which ends June 30th. He also has stated he intends to cut $1.5 billion from the payment due in the next fiscal year. This is an outrageous attack on the retirement security of current and retired members. It is a flip-flop from the Governor’s previous commitments to the Legislature when he convinced them to pass the law which froze retiree cost of living allowances and required all of us to contribute more toward our pension. It is also a violation of the law.

CWA, and possibly other unions, will be filing a lawsuit and will directly challenge the legality of the Governor’s actions. You can expect to see news reports of this action shortly and we will also update members directly.

Right now, we are asking you to take action. We have a website that allows both active and retired members of the pension plans to demand that their respective pension board take action.  It is critically important that as many members and retirees sign on as possible. Please do so right now at http://www.cwanj.org/PERSpetition
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You did it! WE are the next Mayor of Newark!

gotv photo 4

Together, 1037 members and our friends and families worked hard to restore the City of Newark to the people of Newark. You should be proud that not only were we the first Union to endorse Ras Baraka for Mayor, we were also the driving force on the streets for months – knocking on doors and spreading the word about our movement to transform our city. Now, with our victory on Tuesday night, WE are the next Mayor of Newark – and our future looks bright!

Our opponent and his financial backers outspent Ras by 4 to 1, but it was our ground game that made the difference. Despite millions of dollars pouring in from Wall Street against us, Baraka’s message that “when he becomes mayor, WE become Mayor,” resonated across the city. When the voting was complete, the people of Newark gave Ras the win by a margin of 8 points.gotv photo 5

Our message made it to the hearts and minds of Newark voters because of YOU.  All your hard work making phone calls, knocking on doors, attending rallies and spreading the word to everyone you know is what earned this victory. Because of you we were able to ensure that we elected a Mayor that stands for the people of Newark and not the outside interests of the 1%. In the end, the people defeated the profiteers. Or, as some have remarked, Broad Street beat Wall Street.

But it wasn’t just CWA Local 1037 members who catapulted Ras Baraka to victory. Our close partnerships with the NJ Working Families Alliance, NJ Communities United and the Newark Students Union – coupled with Team Baraka’s operation — made our ground game the most effective in the city and the envy of every political operative in the state. Together, our combined army of volunteers worked for months to push back against the political bosses in South Jersey and right here in Essex County. And in an unprecedented fashion, we won!

gotv photo 1The real work of restoring the City of Newark to the people of Newark is just beginning, and this powerful coalition of organizations representing working people and our children will work just as hard moving forward as we did to get Ras elected.

It’s a new day in Newark. It’s our time. And we couldn’t be more thrilled. Now the real work begins.


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When Ras Becomes Mayor, WE Become Mayor!

Ras Baraka for MayorYOU are needed to make sure Ras Baraka wins the Newark Mayor’s race by a large margin! It’s not just an election for the next Mayor of Newark, it’s an opportunity to stand strong against the political machine that dominates New Jersey’s politics. No one is better equipped to stand against the political machine and fight for working families than Ras Baraka.

Ras needs CWA Local 1037 members to sign up for Labor Community Walks and knock on doors every Saturday leading up to the election. We have also arranged opportunities for CWA members to participate in Get Out The Vote efforts on election day.Please sign up online for as many shifts as you’re able.  

Due to the overwhelming support of CWA members our phone banks are booked! Instead of phone banking join us door knocking this Saturday! 

If you have any questions you can contact the local office at 973-623-1828 or email us at info@cwa1037.org.

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