Attention CWA Members:
We are reporting from the Assembly Chambers at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 1, 2017.
The State of New Jersey is shut down because the Legislature and Governor failed to reach a budget agreement. Essential employees will be told to report to work and everyone else will be locked out of work until this budget is passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
Representatives of CWA have been here at the State House at every budget and General session seeking to protect our members, our pensions, and State Services. We have been lobbying all day, every day, this week, along with many of our allies in labor, faith, and community groups.
Unfortunately, Governor Christie is more interested in exacting final revenge on New Jersey than he is in negotiating a budget. After the Senate and the Assembly had come up with a budget that by all accounts, should have resulted in the Governor’s signature, Christie demanded that both houses pass a bill that would have created maximum havoc to healthcare in New Jersey. He raised this issue to derail the process after the Democrats drafted a budget that essentially agreed to 99% of his original budget proposal.
Assembly Speaker Prieto has posted the budget bill as the Legislature’s first priority and has refused the political shakedown of the State’s only non-profit insurer and the only insurer that covers Medicaid.
When Prieto refused to go along, Sweeney’s allies in the Assembly, withheld their votes for a budget.
CWA took a strong and relentless position. Pass a budget and put it on the Governor’s desk.
Unfortunately, bad politics have once again taken the place of good government.
What should you do?
Call these Legislators* who are blocking the passage of a balanced budget. Tell them that a “no” vote or an “abstain” vote is the same as voting “yes” to a shutdown. This is unacceptable.
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The Budget may be resolved over the weekend, but that is not clear. CWA representatives will monitor the budget all weekend long and continue to press the Legislators that did not vote for the Assembly budget to do so. (Our leaders and members have been making hundreds of calls and we will continue to generate that type of pressure.) CWA representatives will be at the State House for the duration of this crisis.
If the State is still shut down as of Monday morning, we will have a Tele-Town Hall call at 11 a.m. with all of our members. If we have your phone number, we will call you at the number we have. If we do not have your number, there will be an 800 number that you can call into.
Will we get paid?
“Essential” employees are working. CWA believes that this constitutes a lock out for those workers who are not working and that we are entitled to be paid. (We were paid in 2006, the last time there was a shut down.) Needless to say, Christie disagrees. We are going to institute the process necessary to demonstrate that our members are ready, willing and able to work. You will be told where and how to report in order to create that record.
CWA will keep you up to date as to what is going on. Please make calls to the Legislators listed above and make it clear that you hold them responsible for not voting for the Budget. Had they done so, there would not be a shut down.
*The following South Jersey Legislators also did not vote for the budget: Bob Andrzejczak, Vincent Mazzeo, John Burzichelli, Adam Taliaferro, Paul Moriarity, Gabriela Mosquera, Louis Greenwald, Pamela Lampitt. We did not ask you to call them because they are deeply committed to supporting Sweeney in his position. The only Republican to vote for the budget was Chris Brown from LD 2.