Meet Shop Steward Jessie Burns

Jessie Burns is a Claims Support Specialist at the Division of Disability Services at the Department of Human Services. She assists people with disabilities who have suffered from work-related injuries and are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Read more about her work below.

What do you do at DDS and how long have you worked there?

[JB] – I have worked at the Division of Disability Services at 124 Halsey St in Newark for over 30 years. I am a Claims Support Specialist I. My job is to schedule consultant exams for people with disabilities to get medical evidence of their disabilities. I then send the reports to the administrative judge so the judge can make a decision on whether they are eligible for disability assistance, and what kind of assistance.

How long have you been a CWA steward? What made you want to step up to it?

[JB] – I have been a CWA steward for over 20 years. I became one to help my coworkers.

Do you have any tips for members considering becoming a Shop Steward?

[JB] – I just think you should do your best when coworkers come to you with a complaint, or want to file a grievance, for example. Try your best to help them and get all the correct information you can.

Why do you think being in a union is important for working people?

[JB] – I think it’s very good. I encourage people to join because being in a union means you have support, job protection, and stability. You know who to contact if you have a problem, and you have more of a voice on the job. It’s good for working people. It’s been good for me and my family.

New Jersey Increases Minimum Wage in 2023

New Jersey’s statewide minimum wage increased by $1.13 to $14.13 per hour, effective January 1, 2023.

CWA along with other unions and progressive allies fought for and strongly supported the passage of legislation signed by Governor Murphy in 2019. The law will continue to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024.

Before this legislation, the state’s minimum wage was $8.60 per hour. The law will increase the minimum wage by $1 per hour each year – or more depending on the increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI).

This is a critical step in helping working families fight inflation. We continue to fight for an equitable economy that works for all.

CWA Appeals Grievance Decision by DCF to Exclude Clerical from Telework

CWA has appealed the grievance decision by DCF to continue excluding clerical staff from the State’s Telework Pilot Program to the NJ Civil Service Commission. The NJ Civil Service Commission will review the Union’s and DCF’s positions and make a determination if the DCF policy violates the NJ CSC rules on telework.

The telework option, which had been granted to State Workers back in June, unfairly excluded DCF clerical staff, even though workers had teleworked effectively throughout the pandemic.

In August, clerical workers testified during a grievance hearing challenging DCF’s decision to exclude clerical workers from the Telework Policy Program.  Prior to the hearing, workers had carried out multiple collective actions to request a meeting with the Commissioner and demand inclusion in the telework program, including sending hundreds of letters, emails, and picketing at the DCF Central Office.