New Jersey State Workers
NJ State workers: CWA Local 1037 represents 8,500 state workers from Sussex County to Ocean County in four different bargaining units – Administrative/Clerical (A), Professional (P), Primary Level Supervisors (R), and Higher Level Supervisors (S). The new contract for State workers went into effect July 1, 2007 and expires June 30, 2011. To View the Memorandum of Agreement, click here.
Governor Christie wants to legislate increased health care costs for you and destroy collective bargaining in New Jersey
- Christie’s proposal would make it illegal for your union to negotiate health benefits
- Christie’s plan is for every worker to pay 30% of premium no matter what their income is. For the average state worker with family coverage, that’s a $5,017 pay cut—every paycheck you earn will be $193 lighter.
- The CWA bargaining proposal would save the state 20% of cost, would provide for a fair contribution, and would provide all workers with affordable healthcare but if Christie has his way it will be illegal to bargain over that proposal.
Democratic legislators MUST stand up for Democratic principles and support working people and collective bargaining. CWA is asking all state legislators to sign a pledge defending our rights to bargain health care.
So far, Nick Scutari (D-Middlesex, Union and Somerset) and Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) have refused to pledge to support public workers.
CALL NICK SCUTARI
Dial 888-302-5143 to be connected
CALL TERESA RUIZ
Dial 888-892-8483 to be connected
"Governor Christie wants to destroy collective bargaining and unions in New Jersey. Democrats need to stand up for working people and pledge to support collective bargaining. I urge you to sign the pledge saying you support those principles."
For more information, visit www.cwanj.org
CWA Bargaining Update
CWA met with the Christie Administration for the first day of bargaining our new contract. We met all day and covered several areas. We exchanged some of our proposals and we received a large package of mostly non-economic proposals from the State.
For the most part, the State wants to eliminate previously-bargained language, side letters of agreement, and other hard-won provisions from previous contracts. We have a lot of work to do.
CWA took the lead in tackling health benefits, which will be one of the most important areas covered in the new contract. We discussed priorities and principles for containing and sharing premium costs. We also want to tackle the rising cost of prescription drugs and lowering costs through encouraging generics and mail-order. In short, the Union recognizes the importance of this issue and we wanted to make it a priority in bargaining. CWA’s health benefits proposal would save the State 20%-22% of the premium, which is a significant move.
Unfortunately, the Governor made it clear that he intends to strip health care out of the bargaining process – a direct assault on the same collective bargaining that the Governor has claimed to “love.” The State made no proposal on health care today and instead admitted that the Governor intends to “legislate” healthcare, in contradiction to the law and years of precedent in which changes to public worker health care are only enacted by Trenton after they are agreed upon at the bargaining table. We were told that the State will not even respond to a health care proposal from CWA unless it “needs” to because the Legislature doesn’t enact his healthcare plan.
We were repeatedly told that the Governor intends to legislate all health benefits issues and will refuse to put a proposal on the table. If legislation doesn’t happen, only then would the State actually negotiate over healthcare at the table with the Union.
When asked if the State understood that healthcare is negotiable, we were told health benefits are negotiable “at the present time” but the State still refused to commit to put a proposal on the table.
CWA also proposed a state-wide table comprised of public sector unions to bargain health benefits together and reach an overall agreement with the State. Bargaining together would save time and enable all parties to reach a global agreement on behalf of all employees.
The Christie Administration is trying to remove healthcare from negotiations and make it a non-negotiable item. They will not take healthcare negotiations seriously as long as the Legislature is seriously considering legislating health benefits. Therefore we have to stop legislation to ensure health benefits are bargained, as they always have been.
There are two Lobby Days scheduled – March 14 and March 21 – to try to stop harmful legislation that would give the Governor exactly what he wants and take negotiations of health benefits off the table. Contact your Local to sign up for Lobby Day and to stay informed about negotiations.
CWA Declares State of Emergency
DON'T LET CHRISTIE PULL A WISCONSIN IN NJ!
Governor Christie is demanding that the Legislature impose 30% Healthcare Premium without
Collective Bargaining! He is also demanding cuts to the Pension Plan for current workers and huge increases in contributions for all except police and firefighters AND STILL WON’T MAKE REQUIRED PAYMENTS!
S2718 Legislates Healthcare Premiums and makes
Collective Bargaining over Healthcare Premiums Illegal
If Christie has his way, the State pension and healthcare payments demanded will cut your compensation by thousands of dollars at a time when the Governor has bragged that he wants to institute a wage freeze.
Now, add another 3% of pay to your additional pension cost, even though we have never missed a payment and the Governor is proposing to drastically cut our benefits.
And all of this would be done without ever coming to the Collective Bargaining Table. No exchange for a wage increase. No joint effort at cost containment. No negotiations over what people can afford. No promise of funding. Just a unilateral pay cut and no discussion.
CWA is ready, willing and able to make a fair healthcare proposal at the table that will save the State millions of dollars. But our members do not deserve a 12% pay cut. We do not deserve to be vilified in the press. We do not deserve to have collective bargaining in New Jersey tossed away.
Organized Labor will be demanding support for Collective Bargaining from the Legislature. WE WANT THE RIGHT TO BARGAIN! Please carefully follow the instructions of your Local and be a part of the Fight Back Plan!
Read CWA District 1 President Chris Shelton's Letter about what's happening in NJ.
CWA Statement to Members Regarding Recent Introduction of Pension Legislation
Senator Sweeney has introduced legislation to make several changes to the pension system. Although the bill was introduced, the bill language is not finalized and is not publicly available until next week.
CWA is part of a united front with every other public sector union which is reviewing the bill and talking to the legislature about the bill. There is no agreement on the legislation – but we are working very hard to have input on the legislation at every opportunity.
We are defending a system deeply underfunded by years of employer neglect, and we know there will be difficult choices and ultimately a serious fight to get legislation passed and signed that does not shift all costs to workers. We need to ensure that the state pays what it owes and that the plan does not become so underfunded that it becomes unstable. (Payments are currently being made from principal. That puts the plan in the RED zone. The RED zone means that the Plan is less than 65% funded. )
Within the next week, we expect full details of the bill to be available. We are scheduling stewards meetings and trainings, but we also will distribute information widely through our email and worksite networks as soon as we can.
We did not choose this time and we did not choose this bill, but it is clear we have to react. CWA has retained a national actuarial firm to study the current system and we will make fact and data-driven decisions with our leadership and membership to secure the defined benefit system’s future.
Please stay informed by visiting your Local’s website, talking to a shop steward, and signing up to receive information updates to your personal email.
- Click HERE to read the Principles of Agreement Between CWA And the State of NJ, DHS, DYFS
- Click HERE to read the State Worker Contract
- Ratified Contract Letter
- State Worker Contract Info - Health Benefits Changes
- Healthcare Comparison of NJ Plus Now and New NJPlus PPO