CWA 1036 Stands In Solidarity with the Movement for Racial Justice
(Contract in effect 7/1/2019 - 6/30/2023)
CWA 1036 Stands In Solidarity with the Movement for Racial Justice
Our members' safety remains the Union's top priority CWA 1036 received reports from staff in various worksites that they needed PPE (Protective Personal Equipment), hand sanitizers and masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. CWA 1036 was able to secure hand sanitizers and masks and make deliveries to various worksites in the Trenton area that needed supplies.
Our members in the Intensive Supervision Program and Juvenile Intensive Supervision Program have been hard at work throughout this crisis, as they were before. ISP/JISP is a special parole program that offers early release to correctional system inmates that meet certain criteria. The ISP/JISP officers, and the administrative staff that support them, are responsible for ensuring that participants abide by the program’s stringent rules. ISP/JISP Officers are not just enforcers of a punitive carceral system, but instead provide comprehensive guidance, counselling, and support to their clients. This involves a rigorous schedule of in-person contacts, even during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to their demanding work duties, relations with ISP/JISP management has often been contentious. More grievances and Unfair Labor Practice charges have had to be filed to protect workers’ rights in this unit than any other in the Judiciary.
Earlier this week, CWA 1036 provided every ISP/JISP officer out in the field with protective KN95 masks and hand sanitizer. Our members in ISP/JISP are placing themselves in harm’s way every day to keep the program running and maintain a positive relationship with their clients throughout this crisis. As always, we stand in solidarity with them.
There’s no question the work landscape has changed because of COVID-19 and we have all made adjustments to adapt to our new work environment. This is especially true for our field workers who face a variety of different environments while performing field work and can’t always control social distancing with others. The Union is working hard to ensure PPE is provided to field workers that reflects the new challenges they face.
Our members in the Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring at DEP continue to investigate harmful algae bloom complaints during this crisis, to keep the citizens of NJ and the animals in our waterways safe. As we work through the new PPE needs for this program, the Local provided a supply of KN95 masks and hand sanitizer to support their efforts and keep them safe. That’s what a Union is: a group of co-workers united together that have each other’s backs.
DEP members in this program expressed the value and importance of the union to their colleagues “Our Local CWA 1036 has come through with providing hand sanitizer (enough to at least get us started) as well as some face coverings … Thanks to the union for looking out for us!”
You may be aware of two legislative proposals moving quickly through the Senate and Assembly this week. One is a furlough program for public employees. The other would temporarily suspend civil service rules so public employees can be reassigned work that is outside their title, as part of emergency response or recovery efforts.
CWA NJ and Local 1036 are very aware of both these bills.
As we have stated before with respect to furloughs – under the law and recent caselaw from the Supreme Court, furloughs are mandatory subjects of negotiations between the Union and an Employer. Furloughs are negotiated changes to pay and work hours, and related terms that are covered under our contracts. The NJ Supreme Court decisions are clear: the Employer must negotiate furloughs with the Unions. Legislation cannot impose furloughs. The provisions under the Senate furlough proposal already exist in other state and Department of Labor programs.
CWA has been in ongoing discussion about the financial impact of COVID-19 with the State, Counties, and Municipalities where we represent workers. We remain in constant communication about member safety, PPE, and now about advance discussions regarding recovery and safely returning to work.
Regarding the legislation to temporarily suspend civil service rules, the bill raises a number of unintended consequences that could make work more complicated. It would likely create legal issues down the road. We are monitoring this legislation, and will protect our members’ rights and work responsibilities. As we carefully approach the recovery phase of this crisis, worker safety is our top priority, including PPE, tools, and training to do any work that helps NJ get back to full strength. Further, any return must be under the guidance and approval of the appropriate public health agencies. No “return” plan should move forward until it is fully vetted and approved. As always, we will keep everyone informed as things develop.
Here is what you can do right now:
1). Stay tuned for invitations to the next Local 1036 Membership Calls coming next week for each bargaining unit.
2). Join the CWA 1036 e-mailing list at www.cwa1036.org with your personal email address. We do not spam and we only send really important info you will not want to miss, we promise.
3). Sign our petition demanding that our members of Congress support federal aid for state and local governments, please SIGN NOW! *As a non-partisan, UNION action, Judiciary employees are free to participate in this action*
4). Register for a Local 1036 “Brown Bag” meeting via Zoom this week. Our first in a series of brown bag webinars is a meeting for “Next Gen.” NEXTGEN meetings are geared towards recently-hired employees or members 35 years or younger. The goal of NEXTGEN is to develop new workplace leaders and to discuss issues particular to your demographic. Join us via this ZOOM link on Wednesday May 13, at 2PM for an introduction to NEXTGEN and how you can get more involved in your workplace, as we deal with challenges to local, county, and state budgets. *This event is open to all CWA 1036 members, including Judiciary*
Periodically we are posting links to union news, mobilization actions, interesting articles, and tips. Here's a couple you might find inspiring:
While Congress has passed initial relief packages, many across the country are still in need of urgent relief. Workers and communities on the front lines of the crisis urgently need health and economic protections. Nurses are working without masks. Millions are going without paychecks. Immigrants are excluded from relief. Families are facing water shutoffs. Black and Latinx communities are dying at an alarming and disproportionate rate.
Congress must act now to protect workers and communities, not corporate executives. Our response to this crisis must fight inequality, not double down on the unjust status quo.
Let’s pull together, as we've done in times past, to demand our government provide money and care to those who are hardest hit, not to the wealthy few.
On May 1st, frontline workers at some of the biggest corporations in the country will lead a mass strike action, asking customers to boycott Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, and Target.Workers at Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Walmart, FedEx, Target, and Shipt say they will walk off the job on May 1 to protest their employers’ failure to provide basic protections for frontline workers who are risking and losing their lives at work. Meanwhile, these same companies are making record profits.
You may have read or heard about recent warnings that workers in state, county and local government could face massive layoffs if federal aid is not provided to NJ.
Layoffs would hurt our fight against COVID-19 and our chances at economic recovery.
Unfortunately, New Jersey – like many other states hit hard by COVID-19 – faces large budget shortfalls caused by high unemployment, lack of economic activity, and ongoing emergency expenses to fight the virus. There is no doubt this virus has become a publiceconomic crisis in addition to public health emergency. Layoffs are not the answer to the fiscal crisis. They will only worsen the strain on local and state economies.
We know that layoffs are not the solution to this budget problem. The State, County and Municipalities all need budget assistance, or there will not be enough money to fund operations. Layoffs are one possible result but they will not fix the economic hole created by this virus. In fact, they would only make New Jersey’s recovery harder. Layoffs would massively disrupt government at a time when residents need those services most.
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