We are proud to support one of our very own, Jessica Umstot, who is running for Hasbrouck Heights Council. Jessica is a Shop Steward for Local 1037 and a co-chair of our Human Rights & Equity committee. As a proud Union member, we know Jessica will always fight for the rights of working people. Please join your CWA brothers and sisters to knock on doors to support Jessica for Hasbrouck Heights Council – sign up now!
Local 1037 is also supporting Robert Parisi for his bid for re-election as the Mayor of West Orange. His opponent, Eldridge Hawkins, has been one of Chris Christie’s biggest cheerleaders in his attack on working people. Hawkins has publicly supported Christie’s attacks on Civil Service and the elimination of our right to bargain over health care. . Supporting Mayor Parisi will send a loud and clear message to the political bosses who back Christie’s attack on working families. If you’d like to help elect Robert Parisi as the next Mayor of West Orange, sign up here!
We’re excited about this year’s elections – and we hope you are too! We look forward to seeing you on the doors!
When it comes to the foreclosure crisis and holding big banks accountable it’s the Wild West. Banks have negotiated back room settlements to avoid disclosing their activities in court – and homeowners have continued to lose their homes at alarming rates in New Jersey. Labor unions, like CWA Local 1037, have a powerful role to play to fight the crisis and force the big banks to play by the rule of law. Unfortunately the system is set up to reward banks while punishing homeowners – but CWA 1037 is engaged in this battle and won’t back down. Check out this important op ed from CWA Local 1037 president Ken McNamara about the fight we waged to save Paulette McQueen’s home from foreclosure.
President McNamara closes his op-ed by stating, “From the streets of Irvington to the national offices of the Communications Workers of America, a movement was built to support Paulette’s fight to save her family’s home from foreclosure. But Paulette and other homeowners like her should not have to wage this type of campaign to achieve justice, or in this case simple fairness and the rule of law. They should be able to rely on the legal system and regulatory agencies to protect their interests. Unfortunately the New Jersey attorney general’s office doesn’t consider families like Paulette’s worthy of their attention.”
If you’re fighting to save your home from foreclosure, you can count on our close partners at NJ Communities United! Contact Mary Szacik at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help.
Breast Cancer has taken too many important women from our lives – which is why CWA Local 1037 is participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’re asking everyone to wear something pink on Wednesday, October 29th to raise awareness about Breast Cancer!
The best way to fight breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. Create your Early Detection Plan to receive reminders to do breast self-exams, and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and health history.
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.
The 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.
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.
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/).
On 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.
Workers 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.”
The 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!