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
President

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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!

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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.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PASSION, DEDICATION AND ALL YOUR HARD WORK! 

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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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Scholarship Opportunities for Union Families in New Jersey

Are you or a family member attending college next Fall? If so, you don’t want to miss out on any of these scholarship opportunities offered by our partners in the Labor Movement!

ScholarshipsThe Essex-West Hudson Labor Council is offering scholarships to high school seniors who have been accepted to an accredited college or post-high school program. There are sixteen scholarships available and the application deadline is April 17, 2014. Click here for the application.

The Bergen Country Central Trades & Labor Council is offering scholarships to full and part time students through the Ed Purtill Community Service Scholarship and the Abe Solomon Scholarship Fund. The application deadline is April 12, 2014.

The Hudson County Central Labor Council has thirteen scholarships available through the Edward B. Pulver Scholarship Fund. Scholarship applicant’s parent or legal guardian must be a member of a local union affiliated with the Hudson County Labor Council.  Click here for the application.

If you or an immediate family member live or work in Monmouth or Ocean Counties and attend or are planning to attend a college, university or technical school, then you should apply for the Monmouth & Ocean Counties Central Labor Council Memorial Scholarship.  Click here for the application.

The Middlesex & Somerset Counties Labor Council is awarding scholarships to three students who submit the best essay’s explaining how the labor movement has contributed to the welfare of workers and our communities. The deadline to submit an application and essay is April 11th.  Click here for the application.

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NJ Home Child Care Providers Ratify New Contract

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Home child care providers, contracted by the NJ Department of Human Services and represented by the Child Care Workers Union, a partnership between CWA Local 1037 and AFSCME, ratified a new labor contract this week, bringing a year-long set of negotiations to a close.  Home child care providers escalated their grassroots organizing power to ensure a cost of living increase of 2.25% over 18 months and successfully negotiated gains in other areas of their work. Much of the progress made in the contract came out of the Child Care Provider Bill of Rights developed by providers, which was also included in the contract itself.

Driven in large part by the Child Care Provider Bill of Rights, the new contract compensates providers for mandatory trainings, defines an eight-hour day as a legal day’s work and provides additional pay for providers caring for children with special needs.

“We worked hard at the negotiating table to make sure providers caring for children with special needs were properly compensated for the important work they do,” said Ken McNamara, president of CWA Local 1037. “We’re most proud that now providers can use their union contract and the dispute resolution procedure to advocate for the children in their care. The contract broadly defines special needs to include factors such as poverty.”

The contract provides for a ‘special needs’ rate to be paid for care of a child who is under the age of 19 who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care; or a child who has been identified through a written referral from a county welfare agency, legal, medical, social service agency, emergency shelter, or public school which indicates that the child has a serious physical, emotional or mental, or cognitive condition and child care services are required as part of a treatment plan designed to stabilize or ameliorate the situation.

“We worked incredibly hard to make this new contract a reality,” said Shanita Hargrove a child care provider in Newark, NJ. “We knocked on doors in counties across the state. We engaged the working parents we provide services for. We circulated a petition of support that generated more than 500 signatures. We packed buses filled with supporters to attend rallies in Trenton. We built a real movement. But this is just the beginning of what we can accomplish together moving forward.”

CWA Local 1037 partnered with NJ Communities United to work with child care providers to increase the grassroots organizing work needed to negotiate a strong second contract.

“This is a victory for child care providers and it’s a victory for working families who struggle to afford quality child care,” said Trina Scordo, executive director of NJ Communities United. “We engaged working class communities on this issue and built a movement of people dedicated to quality child care and early childhood education. The positive long-term impacts for providers and working families are beyond measure.”

“Everyone agrees that affordable, quality child care and early education are essential to building a foundation for success,” said Danisia Valadez, a home child care provider in Passaic, NJ. “We are extremely proud that this contract not only improves the working conditions for home child care providers, but that it also seeks to provide resources for children who desperately need additional attention and support.”

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Support Your CWA Sister’s Fight to Save Her Home from Wells Fargo!

AVIn 2010, Paulette McQueen, a CWA 1037 home child care provider and Shop Steward, missed ONE mortgage payment. The very next month Paulette attempted to hand deliver the missed payment and the current month’s payment. Wells Fargo refused to accept ANY money and the foreclosure mill began. By 2013, her home was up for a Sheriff’s sale. But this isn’t just Paulette’s home, it’s also where she works as a home child care provider…and where four generations of her family live, including her elderly mother Grandma Lavinia.

Support your CWA sister and sign the petition to Wells Fargo demanding that they negotiate a fair market value mortgage with a low fixed interest rate for Paulette, Grandma Lavinia and the working families who rely on their home for affordable, quality child care.

Just a few months ago Grandma Lavinia & Paulette were featured in news articles across the country as they stood alongside Irvington, NJ Mayor Wayne Smith who announced plans to achieve principal reductions on mortgages for struggling homeowners. Wells Fargo saw the news and immediately reached out to Grandma Lavinia & Paulette. They agreed to stop the Sheriff’s sale and promised to renegotiate a new mortgage that the family could afford.

We need to keep the pressure on Wells Fargo to ensure they follow through with their promise! Sign the petition to Wells Fargo demanding that they negotiate a fair market value mortgage with a low fixed interest rate for Grandma Lavinia & Paulette!

Sadly, we know that Paulette isn’t the only CWA member fighting to save her home. If you are in a similar situation and need support, please reach out so we can get you in touch with our good friends at NJ Communities United. Through their anti-foreclosure work, NJ Communities United is providing free mortgage counseling for CWA members fighting to save their homes. You can reach us at info@cwa1037.org or 973-623-1828.

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JOIN CWA TO CELEBRATE DR. KING’S LIFE & LEGACY

dr king doing for othersOn Monday, January 20th, the nation will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Throughout the year CWA Local 1037 honors Dr. King on a daily basis by organizing and representing workers in their workplaces, their communities and the halls of governance.
On January 20th we are excited to honor his legacy by participating in community service – and we invite you to join us! CWA Local 1037’s Community Service Committee and Next Generation Caucus have organized a great opportunity for CWA members to participate in community service.

Please join us for Brightening Lives & Brightening Walls in Jersey City on Monday January 20th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at 158 Erie Street Jersey City NJ, 07302. Volunteers are needed to help pain murals, create no-sew fleece blankets, make “I Have a Dream” pillow cases and bake cupcakes that will be donated to families displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

Space is limited and registration is required. If you’d like to honor Dr. King’s legacy through community service this Monday, please RSVP by contacting Victoria Fisher at victoria.fisher@gmail.com/201-522-4557 or Maxine Taylor at mtaylor@cwa1037.org/973-623-1828.

If you’re not able to join CWA Local 1037 in Jersey City this Monday, please consider participating in community service volunteer opportunities near you by visiting www.JerseyCares.org. Be sure to let them know you’re a proud member of CWA Local 1037!

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