Author Archives: Karina Castrillo

Horizon Health Webinars for State Workers: September Schedule

State workers in the State Health Benefits plan have access to free health webinars from Horizon. The September webinars will focus on helping you get back to a healthier and stronger you. Topics will cover mind and body health, along with quick fitness routines for your busy day.

To register, simply click on a title. Space is limited.

Opioids and Substance Use, Wednesday, September 15, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Addiction is not a choice, so let us help you get the facts about how it can affect our bodies, brains and behavior. Join this session about evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery methods.

Virtual Fitness, Thursday, September 23, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. In this class, we’ll share fun and interactive exercises that you can do whether you’re at home or on the go. So, jump-start your fitness routine with these simple moves today.

Calm, Cool and Collected, Tuesday, September 28, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Looking to manage your stress better? Our session will discuss its causes and symptoms, how to cope with it, and goals to improve your outlook and reduce the risk of stress-related conditions.

For a list of recorded webinars, please visit https://www.horizonblue.com/shbp/njwell/njwell-webinars

La Casa Workers Win Union

CWA Local 1037 would like to welcome our newest sisters and brothers from La Casa De Don Pedro’s Youth, Family, and Health Resources Division! After a long organizing drive, with support for our partners in New Jersey Communities United (NJCU) and Workers in Early Childhood Education Action Network (WECAN), La Casa workers won their union election on August 2nd, as certified by the National Labor Relations Board. The vote count was 15 – 5. 

La Casa workers gathered to celebrate their victory at Omar’s in Newark.

“It’s a big relief. The unity is there. We know that we have the power to make things change so there’s a shift in the way we feel at work,” Sandra Fernandez, an Organizing Committee member said. “Morale was really low, and throughout this whole entire fight and trying to make this happen, it was an emotional rollercoaster. But now we feel like here we are, we’re a union. So now we’re ready to take on what we need to take on.”

La Casa workers have long endured unfair treatment from management at their worksite. Concerns varied from permanently low wages, lack of days off, working extra shifts without compensation, and humiliation from supervisors. As essential workers, they provide vital services to the youth and families of Newark and are deeply valued by their clients and community. La Casa workers seek to improve their workplace conditions so they can continue to help the community they cherish.

“I love La Casa, and when I say I love La Casa, I mean I love my community. I love what I do. I have been here for 10 years, dedicated my life, and put so much into this organization, that is why I’m here fighting for my colleagues.”

La Casa workers joined by CWA 1037, NJCU and WECAN at a rally on July 1.

Erika Mojica, a colleague at La Casa elaborated further, “We’re workers. We love our job, if not we wouldn’t be here. If not, we wouldn’t be fighting because we want to continue to be here. All we want is to be respected and to be given what we deserve. We feel proud when our clients tell us, ‘La Casa De Don Pedro has helped us’. We feel proud to help our community, but we’re not happy at our job because we are not compensated.”

Workers organized tirelessly for weeks, despite facing intimidation tactics such as a captive audience meeting. Management also hired a union-busting lawyer. Still, La Casa childcare workers boldly persevered and kept a united front.

“Perseverance is important. There were moments that seemed that it was impossible, but the encouragement by Roberto and Anne [from NJCU & CWA 1037] and others helped. The outcome was way better than I expected it would be,” Cesar Solis, Organizing Committee member said.

“It makes me feel great to know that things are going to change, that they [management] must have accountability now. I don’t know how long I’m going to be here, but it feels good to have accomplished something for whoever comes after and knowing that they can no longer do whatever they want. They always tell us, educate the public on their rights, and I felt, wait a minute, we’re not exercising our rights.”

Congratulations to our La Casa workers on the solidarity they have established with their coworkers, and their Union win to improve their workplace conditions.

Watch a video of the La Casa Union Win on Instagram, @CWA1037.

Meet Our Shop Steward: Jared Berger

Jared Berger is a Geospatial Analyst and CWA 1037 Shop Steward at the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. 

Berger’s analysis helps identify prime land in the headwaters of the Authority’s reservoir for the purpose of preservation. The NJ Water Supply Authority maintains the water resources of the Raritan Basin system—which includes the Spruce Run Reservoir, Round Valley Reservoir, and the Delaware and Raritan Canal—providing water to over 1.5 million residents in central New Jersey.

Shop Stewards are the backbone of a Union Local and are the key to building a strong, democratic labor movement. Stewards provide a vital link between the CWA’s elected officers, the Employer, and their fellow workers. As an elected Shop Steward, Berger plays an important role as a point of contact between members and union staff and leadership, keeping members informed workplace issues, addressing any concerns or questions members have at the worksite, and organizing members to be active in their union.

Jared, what made you decide to step up as a steward?
[JB] – I have a really positive view of the work that the CWA does in NJ and nationwide. When we have an unfriendly governor in Trenton, they help to protect members from damaging decisions, and when we have a friendly governor in Trenton, they negotiate on decisions that will make member’s working lives better. The position of steward at my site was vacant for several years, so I decided to help with that interface between members and the local office.

What do you like about the steward role?
[JB] – I like being able to represent my coworkers when it comes to issues that come up here at my site or statewide.

What have you learned about the steward role?
[JB] – Not a huge amount yet, but I’ve gotten an idea for how people feel about union membership at my site and who is interested in engaging with the local organization.

Do you have any advice for others considering taking on a steward role at their worksites?
[JB] – If someone is considering taking the steward role and their site is in need of one, they should absolutely do it! They are providing a vital link for their coworkers to be heard by the local office, and also keeping their worksite visible to union and state officials. Membership needs all the help it can get right now, and having a steward at your site can make a difference to someone who has questions or concerns.

Watch a video featuring Jared on Instagram, here.