Due to the ongoing budget deadlock at the statehouse, New Jersey may be facing a state shutdown if a balanced budget isn’t passed by midnight on Friday, June 30. Negotiations are ongoing, and CWA continues to urge our lawmakers not to disrupt vital public services.
While a State Government shutdown is by no means certain, we are preparing for the possibility to make sure that all of our rights are protected in the event that it does happen. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members, and will make sure to keep you informed as this situation develops. In the meantime, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions we have heard so far.
What does a “shutdown” mean?
If the State does not have an approved budget in place, only "essential" offices and functions would be open during a state government shutdown. Everything else would be closed.
This could mean that state parks and beaches are closed during the holiday weekend.
Essential services like corrections, emergency response, and others will continue to be open and operational during a shutdown.
Workers will be notified by management if they are essential during a shutdown and will be expected to report to work.
The Union will be working non-stop during a state shutdown to both share information, get members mobilized, and lobby to end the shutdown as soon as possible. It is important you stay informed.
Why is the Legislature and Governor threatening a shutdown?
Governor Christie has refused to sign a state budget passed by the Senate and Assembly unless it is packaged with bills that dedicate NJ State Lottery revenue to the pension fund and give the state control over surplus funds at Horizon insurance company.
On Thursday, June 29, the Senate passed a bill on the Lottery and a “compromise” bill on Horizon, but it isn’t clear if the Horizon legislation will be approved by the Governor.
The Assembly is divided over whether the pass the budget first without any movement on the lottery and Horizon issues, or if it should pass the same version of the Horizon bill (or even another variation) at the same time as the budget. Some Assembly members want to pass the same package as the Senate to try to meet Christie’s demands, others want to only pass a budget and deal with lottery and Horizon issues later when there is more time to take careful action.
How do I get the fastest updates about a State shutdown?
Share your cell and personal email (you may not receive or have access to your work email during a shutdown) with Local 1036 so we can add you to our news bulletins. We will send information via text and email blasts regularly during a shutdown.
Local 1036 does not share this contact information - it is only used by your Local Union to stay in touch.
Does a State shutdown affect NJ Judiciary?
Yes. Non-essential Judiciary operations will likely be closed during a state shutdown. Essential employees will be notified by management and expected to report to work. Essential employees will be notified by their management whether to report or not each day as long as a shutdown lasts. CWA 1036 has been communicating with Judiciary management to get information on which departments must continue operations during a shutdown, and which employees will be required to work during a potential shutdown. We know Pre-trial Services will definitely run on Saturday, July 1st as scheduled. Other departments, like IT operations, will continue to run and will require employees to work or be on call as usual.
All Judiciary employees will be advised whether to report or not to report to work each day as long as the shutdown lasts, as they would be in the case of any other emergency. This includes any work previously scheduled for weekends or holidays. Operations on Monday, July 3, will be determined as needed. The Judiciary will notify employees on a day by day basis during a potential shutdown.
Will I be paid for lost time if there is a shutdown?
The Union’s position first and foremost is there should not be a shutdown at all - the budget should be resolved and vital state services should not be disrupted because of political games in the legislature and Governor’s office.
If there is a shutdown, the Union will fight in every possible way to ensure our members are not harmed. Our salaries and wages are part of the budget and a shutdown is essentially an involuntary “lock out.” We have both contract language and past precedent to guide us, but the best outcome would be to avoid a shutdown.