On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, the Responsible Collective Negotiations Act (RCNA) was signed into law. The RCNA has been a CWA priority for over 30 years, and represents an historic advancement in the rights of State Workers.
The Responsible Collective Negotiations Act:
- Allows Unions to Bargain Over More Workplace Issues: State Worker unions can bargain with management over more issues beyond wages and benefits.
- Ends the Imposition of Contracts: Management can no longer impose their version of a contract when the two sides have reached an impasse.
- Protects Union Member Confidentiality: Communications between a union member and their elected union leadership or union staff are now legally confidential (similar to an attorney – client privilege).
- Allows Unions to Charge Non-Members for Arbitration: Non-members may be required to pay the cost of taking their case to arbitration, which costs thousands of dollars per day. This cost is otherwise born by the rest of the employees who pay union dues.
For years, workers have been hurt by policies that prioritize management over employees. It’s gotten worse since the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Janus v. AFSCME which further undermined union power.
The RCNA however, will address some of the inequities that were created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus, and will expand State Workers’ rights to collective bargaining to be more in line with the rights of private sector workers. Thanks to the active organizing and civic participation of our CWA members and allies, workers’ rights will be further protected in the state of New Jersey.