Today, CWA 1036 filed a group grievance on behalf of all affected employees who were entitled to a progression increase (step payment) on January 1, 2017 but did not receive it.  

In the grievance, the Union asserts that all employees eligible to receive progression increases should receive the increases that were due under the applicable Contract, effective January 1st of each year. Further, the Union demands that progression increases of 4% be added to base salary to all employees eligible for progression increases as of January 1, 2017. Employees at “maximum 1” who are eligible for advancement to “maximum 2” should also receive that increase.

The basis for this grievance is a letter of agreement signed by the Union and Judiciary in May of 2015, in which the parties agreed that for purposes of progression increases upon expiration of the Contract, the language to be applied is Article 7 of the 2008-2012 Contract, the contract prior to this one. The side letter recognizes that the Judiciary and CWA bargained changes to progression during the 2012-2016 contract, but if there is a dispute over whether progression must be paid after the contract expires, the controlling language is the prior agreement which was in effect from 2008-2012. In other words, under this letter of agreement signed by both parties, CWA argues that progressions of 4% per year are due effective January 1st of each year under our expired contract and while we negotiate a new one.

By failing to pay progressions, the Judiciary has violated our Contract. Additionally, as we have raised previously, the Judiciary’s actions are contrary to over forty years of legal precedent and a unanimous Appellate Court ruling, holding that annual progression increases negotiated in a contract are paid to employees when a contract has expired and a new one is being negotiated. This Appellate Division decision is in effect at this time.

CWA 1036 is committed to fighting for the rights of our members at the bargaining table, in the courts, at the statehouse, and in the streets. We are not backing down from this fight, and we will continue to fight and negotiate for a fair contract for all our members.

Statement to CWA Members on the IFPTE Local 195 Tentative Agreement

July 12, 2016

You may have heard that IFPTE Local 195 has a Tentative Agreement for a 4 year Contract Agreement with the Christie Administration. IFPTE represents skilled trade and craft employees in the executive branch and is a smaller bargaining unit than CWA.

We do not as of yet have details as to all aspects of the Agreement, but we understand that it is a 4-year agreement with wage increases of 0, 0, 1.75% and 1.5% across the board each July 1st of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, over 4 years and a $450 onetime bonus in 2017 only for workers at who have been at Max pay for at least 3 years. It also appears that chapter 78 health care contribution percentages are maintained through the contract, and that there are no improvements in healthcare.  There may also be important “work rules” and grievance language issues that we have to assess.

As soon as we have further information as to what language and other changes are contained in the IFPTE Local 195 agreement, we will share our analysis and reaction with you.

We advise all of our members to remain patient while the CWA bargaining committee reviews all of the facts to determine if there is any reason to change the approach we have had to date.  CWA’s 35,000 members across all Locals have stuck together these past several months, and we remain committed to fighting as long as it takes to win a fair contract. 

 

In Solidarity,

Hetty Rosenstein, NJ Director

John Rose, CWA Local 1031

Patrick Kavanagh, CWA Local 1032

Gaye Palmer, CWA Local 1033

Adam Liebtag, CWA Local 1036

Ken McNamara, CWA Local 1037

Shawn Ludwig, CWA Local 1038

Lionel Leach, CWA Local 1039

Carolyn C. Wade, CWA Local 1040

NJ Executive Branch Bargaining Report
June 28, 2016

General Negotiations Update:

The Bargaining Committee continues to regularly meet and discuss our strategy for contract negotiations with the Christie Administration.  Over the past year, we have not seen any reason to change our minds that negotiations with the Administration will not bring about a satisfactory contract.  We are not prepared to accept zeros, we have no interest in further concessions, and we do not want to be distracted from our urgent and immediate goal – saving the pensions of our members and retirees.  We do not envision a scenario in which the Christie Administration would bargain a Contract that CWA would consider acceptable.  We don’t only want a Contract.  We want a good Contract.  We know that we cannot make concessions.  Our members have already lost too much.

Increments:

The most difficult issue we face in not negotiating a contract is the fact that the Christie Administration has refused to pay increments.  They did this in violation of our Contract, relying on decisions from the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) in the Atlantic County and Bridgewater cases.  In these cases, PERC overturned 40 years of precedential decisions and allowed employers to not pay increments.  On March 9, 2016, the Appellate Court ruled in favor of the unions, however, and unanimously overturned these cases saying that increments must be paid.  The Christie Administration appealed that decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  We do not yet know if the Supreme Court will “accept cert” and hear the case.  If the Supreme Court does not hear the case — we won — the increments must be paid.  If the Supreme Court does accept the appeal, we will have to present a case to the Supreme Court.

We have also filed a grievance about the fact that the State missed the contractual deadline for asking to start negotiating the new Contract and thus should pay the increments even after expiration. The State is challenging our right to arbitrate the grievance and so that too is delayed by litigation.

 

Next Steps:

As we have said for the past year— our primary focus is winning the Constitutional Amendment in November, protecting our pension.   That means that we have a difficult path.  In CWA we will take a more difficult and less traveled path, if we believe it is time to stand and fight. That is where we are on pensions and on concessions. We must protect the pension plan.  We aren’t going to wait for someone else to do that for us.  We are pressing forward on our immediate fight for the Constitutional Amendment. 

We know in CWA, if we remain unified, and if we maintain our courage and ideals, we can win.  If we negotiate from a position of weakness or anxiety, the outcome will not be good.  We choose unity and courage.  Thank you for your support.  Please participate in all activities.

 

In Solidarity,

Hetty Rosenstein, NJ Area Director

John Rose, CWA Local 1031

Patrick Kavanagh, CWA Local 1032                                    

Gaye Palmer, CWA Local 1033                                             

Adam Liebtag, CWA Local 1036                                           

Ken McNamara, CWA Local 1037

Shawn Ludwig, CWA Local 1038

Lionel Leach, CWA Local 1039

Carolyn Wade, CWA Local 1040

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We are starting negotiations for the next Burlington County contracts to take effect this year. 

Burlington County members are invited to attend a special meeting to talk about our priorities. 

February 17, 2016

Meeting starts at 5pm

Burlington County Library

Please make every effort to attend.