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*