NJ State Dept of Environmental Protection, Dept of Health, and Dept of Agriculture
Below is information from the State regarding payment for the shutdown from July 1 through July 3:
Pay for the shutdown furlough will be issued in a supplemental payroll on payroll date R, which is September 1. Taxes will be deducted as normal, but other deductions were already charged in the prior 9-day pay covering the shutdown period.
Overtime will be recalculated for the period of the shutdown for eligible employees.
Non-essential employees who were placed in no-pay status during the shutdown, will be paid for the furlough time. This will be paid by the state, not charged to benefit time.
Employees who would have been on FMLA, State Family Leave and/or unpaid leave of absence even if the State had not shut down, including unpaid voluntary furloughs, will have time sheet adjusted accordingly to reflect that leave.
Dear State Worker,
Today, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Appellate Court's judgment in the Atlantic and Bridgewater cases. The Court ruled that the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), Atlantic County, and Bridgewater overstepped in unilaterally denying workers in Atlantic and Bridgewater their salary increments after Contract expiration.
The Christie Administration used the Atlantic and Bridgewater cases to deny State Workers their increments, despite the more than 40 years of precedent, past practice and custom of continuing increments.
We hope that the Administration and all New Jersey public employers will now restore the increments and follow a law that has existed since 1975. However, if they do not, (and we expect that the Christie Administration will not immediately pay the increments) today’s decision makes clear we have the legal tools to restore the increments, including a grievance that we filed and that has been held pending this decision.
Below you will find a more detailed analysis of the Supreme Court decision and notice of a Town Hall Call that will take place on Monday, August 7, 2017 at 7 p.m. We will provide a full legal analysis and explanation of next steps on that call.
CWA NJ Director
P.S. As you know, the Governor signed the back pay legislation and we will be paid. We are awaiting a date for payment from Centralized Payroll. We will get that information to you as soon as we have it.
Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision on the “increments” cases in Atlantic County and Bridgewater. In these cases, the employers denied increments after expiration. The State of New Jersey, Judiciary and other employers have relied upon PERC’s decisions to deny payments of our increments. The Appellate Court overturned PERC, and the employers appealed to the Supreme Court. PERC, Atlantic County, Bridgewater and the Christie Administration LOST.
The Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY AFFIRMED the Appellate Court’s judgment in Atlantic and Bridgewater. The Court ruled that the denial of increments is grievable and can be arbitrated. This is very good. It is not perfect, however, because the Court felt it didn't need to rule on every issue and we may find that the Christie Administration will still try to withhold increments. If that happens, we will have to use this decision and the Appellate Division decision to further challenge the withholding of increments.
Please carefully read the explanation below.
The Appellate Court overturned PERC's decision eliminating increments post expiration in Atlantic and Bridgewater. (The State of New Jersey relied upon PERC's decision to not pay our increments.)
The Court said that increments are a mandatory subject of negotiations and parties can agree to have them continue, or sunset, after contract expiration.
If the employer denies salary increments- it is grievable and arbitrable. CWA filed grievances on this when increments were first denied. The grievances were held in abeyance waiting the Supreme Court decision.
The Appellate Division held that increments must continue as part of the “dynamic status quo” even where the contract does not specifically address whether they are paid after expiration. The Supreme Court affirms that increments must be paid if the contract explicitly states this or if it states that all terms and conditions of employment continue. The Court chose to not specifically address what happens if the contract language is not specific, but did not overturn the analysis of the Appellate Division. The Supreme Court’s decision not to reach that question just means that it reserves the right to consider the issue in another case. In the meantime, the highest court decision addressing a public employer’s obligation to pay automatic increments, says that the increments must be paid.
We have a very clear history that our increments are automatic. We have refused language last Contract that would have required that increments "sunset." We have also rejected the language accepted by other unions that increments are "frozen" after expiration. The language that we have was found to meet the conditions of an automatic increment system that must be continued under the dynamic status quo doctrine. In other words, we have good language and both the "past practices” and “custom" that the Supreme Court said would guide any future decisions.
What does this mean? It means that the Supreme Court overturned the PERC decision that the State relied upon to deny us increments and to block arbitration our grievance. With this Administration, we have learned to expect the worst and they may continue to delay or refuse to pay us our negotiated increments. We may not be paid immediately based on this decision because of the issues left unaddressed. However, the decision gives us a good foundation for our contractual challenge and we are exploring other options as well.
We will hold a Town Hall Call with all of our members on
MONDAY, AUGUST 7 at 7:00PM.
TEXT the word STEPS to the phone number 69866
using your cell phone to be added to the call.
On Monday, CWA will call you directly as the Town Hall starts— just pick up the phone to listen in.You can also join the call on Monday by dialing 855-269-4484 by 6:55pm.
In addition, the Bargaining Committee and the Mobilization Committee are meeting this week to discuss next steps with Contract negotiations and mobilization.
On behalf of all our members who may try to file for unemployment benefits for the days where the State has refused payment for the shutdown, CWA has sent a formal request to the Department of Labor to extend the filing deadline for UI until the end of next week. Please be sure to check eligibility for UI benefits as you apply. We will keep you posted on this.
Welcome back everyone from the July 4th holiday and the government shutdown – back to normal business.
As the dust settles on the state shutdown and getting back to work, we know there are a few questions that remain. Although the budget was signed in the early morning hours of July 4th and CWA leadership continued to work on these issues during the Fourth, the reality is many of the State decision-makers will be returning to work today. Nothing comes easy with the current Administration so we often have to fight to get what is right, even when the answers should seem obvious.
So, we are working to secure clear and consistent answers to all of these as soon as possible. We expect to have these clear answers – not rumor – today or by the end of the week. Please stay tuned and we will broadcast an update with clear information as soon as possible later today. We are aware of all of these and we will be sending out answers when they are confirmed.
Here are the immediate questions we are working on:
Q. Will I be paid for Monday? How do I code my time in timesheets?
A. We are working to confirm this information and make sure all state Departments and Judiciary are on the same page. We expect to broadcast an update soon. Gov. Christie has made statements about not paying for the Monday lockout. The Union’s position is clear that the shutdown was a lockout not due to any workers’ unwillingness or inability to work. We have contract language and other regulation and statute we will enforce if necessary. The budget that was adopted contained appropriate funds to pay for Monday as part of our annual salaries. Please stay tuned.
How you code your time in timesheets will be sent out by Departments as they are also waiting for guidance and a firm resolution.
Q. Will the July 4th holiday paid?
A. Legislative leadership made it clear that pay for the holiday was included in the budget. Gov. Christie confirmed this in a press conference during the shutdown. Again, we are working to develop a clear and consistent answer to this and will broadcast to membership shortly.
Q. What happens if I put in for vacation or sick time on Monday – do I get it back?
A. There is past practice on this issue. We are sorting out answers to this with the State and Judiciary and will advise members ASAP.
Q. Am I eligible or should I file for UI for Monday?
A. At least one State department sent around an email with instructions to file for Unemployment, but it is NOT official guidance. This is extremely premature since the issue of being paid for Monday is not yet confirmed. Please wait for guidance from CWA on this issue. If members should file for UI, the Union will provide advice on that.
Q. I was designated as essential and worked Saturday, Sunday, or Monday – am I guaranteed to get paid? How do I code my time in timesheets?
A. Any employee who was designated essential and directed to work during the shutdown must be paid. Departments will be advising how to code time, but by default you may just code your time as normal work time.
Again, we know this situation is frustrating and we will continue to work to get answers or tell you the Union’s positions on any issues in dispute. The good news is our activism and pressure contributed to ending the shutdown. As usual, the Union will be part of the cleanup as well.
The State budget shutdown ended in the early morning hours of July 4th, allowing the state to resume normal operations on Wednesday, July 5.
Assembly Speaker Prieto, Senate President Sweeney, and Governor Christie reached an agreement on compromise Horizon legislation and the Governor agreed not to veto any of the Democrats' budget priorities.
All state and judiciary employees are expected to report to work for normal business on Wednesday, July 5.
Thank you to everyone who contacted their legislators during the shutdown. More information will be coming in upcoming worksite meetings.