The NJ Senate has posted Senate Concurrent Resolution S-184, proposing a constitutional amendment to obligate the State to make the required annual contribution into public sector pension plans.  The bill would bind the legislature to phase in the full payment of the annual contribution by 2021 and require the state to make the payments on a quarterly basis.

Quarterly payments would save the state millions every year on the annual required contribution, and would boost the health of the pension fund because investment earnings would be accrued on the payments throughout the fiscal year, instead of one lump payment at the very end of the year. 

If passed this time, and then again in 2016, the pension funding and quarterly payments would be put on the ballot on Election Day, November 2016. If passed by the voters, it would amend the NJ Constitution and remedy the decision of the NJ Supreme Court. 

The resolution has been posted for vote in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Thursday, December 10th at 1pm.  The committee hearing will be held in the State House Annex, 1st Floor, Committee Room 4.  The Local will join forces with the rest of CWA, the NJ AFL-CIO and other public sector unions to voice strong support and urge passage of this resolution out of committee. We also thank Senate President Stephen Sweeney for his leadership to post this bill. 

Stay tuned.  We will be in touch later this week with an update on next steps, including passage in the Assembly.  

Read more coverage here.

CWA Local 1036 Statement on FY16 State Budget

For the fifth year in a row, Governor Christie underfunded the state’s pension payment for the upcoming fiscal year, which will place our pension system for all public workers at risk, accumulate even more unfunded liability, and place the state’s credit at risk of a 10th downgrade.

All this despite receiving a balanced, fully funded budget from the Senate and Assembly that made the full pension payment due under the chapter 78 schedule. It is also the 2nd year in a row that the Governor vetoed a full pension payment paid by a balanced budget.

In order to make the full pension payment, the Legislature essentially accepted the majority of Governor Christie’s budget, but increased revenue through a temporary increase in corporate taxes and millionaire households. The additional revenue paid for the pension payment plus restored a cut to women’s health programs and restored a tax break for 280,000 low-income working families.

Governor Christie vetoed the Democrats’ budget.

The Senate and Assembly also passed other important bills as part of its budget sessions:

No one should have to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one and getting a paycheck. But for thousands of NJ workers, getting sick - even for a day - will mean lost wages and possibly losing your job. 
 
Part of our mission as a labor union is to help create livable wages and benefits for all working people. That's why CWA Local 1036 and others are supporting NJ legislation to create earned sick leave for all NJ workers. Everyone benefits when workers are able to balance job obligations and family needs. 
 
Please join us on Thursday, August 8 in Room 103 at the State House in Trenton at 11:45 am. CWA 1036 leaders and members will join coalition allies to show support for Earned Sick Days legislation.
 

Watch the new CWA TV spot highlighting public workers. 

 

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This is a cross-post from AFL-CIO Blog and a report from the Campaign for American Progress. David Madland and Nick Bunker parse the latest figures to show states with weak unions also share another trait—a weak middle class. 

New state income data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the importance of unions to boosting incomes for all middle-class households—union and nonunion alike. The 2010 income data makes it clear that strong unions are a critical factor in creating a middle-class society. Restoring the strength of unions would go a long way toward rebuilding the middle class.

But the core of what unions do helps all workers and fuels a strong middle class. Unions make the middle class stronger by giving it a bigger say in our economy and our political system.

The states with the lowest percentage of workers in unions—North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas—all have relatively weak middle classes. In each of these states, the share of income going to the middle class (the middle 60 percent of the population by income) is below the national average, according to Census Bureau figures.

Read the full blog post or the full report.

On April 10th, the Civil Service Commission will hold a public hearing on a rule proposal to eliminate civil service as we know it. The rule proposal bypasses the legislature and contract negotiations to "broad band" civil service titles, rewrite promotional rules, and eliminate or limit important protections like veteran preference, testing and ranking on lists, and layoff rights.

Take action to ensure this rule isn't rubber-stamped after a single hearing! Make sure thousands of public employees and hundreds of thousands of residents can weigh in to shape or stop this rule. 

The “broad bands” of job titles would allow management at all levels of government (State, County, and Municipal) in the Civil Service System to group numerous job titles in large “bands.” Employers could hire, demote, or advance employees to jobs within the “band” based solely on management's assessment of your competency - without objective testing or lists.

Even worse is the manner in which the Commission is trying to do this. They are only allowing one hearing on these changes—at 3pm on a work day when most workers and residents can not attend the hearing. Despite the fact that thousands of public employees would be harmed by the rule, the hearing room only holds 20 people. 

The Christie Administration wants to silence public input and push this change through with a rubber stamp after one meeting. We need to mobilize to stop it.

We will be organizing public comment opposing the rule but the first step is to get the Commission to hold a real public hearing process. 

 

Over a dozen CWA 1036 members and leaders joined a large group of community allies today at the State House to stand up for a strong, fair Civil Service system. The Assembly State Government Committee, chaired by Asw. Linda Stender, called the special hearing to discuss the proposed radical rule changes by the Civil Service Commission. As part of our ongoing campaign, Local President Adam Liebtag testified on the flawed "reform" process so far and the potential damage to public services and public employees. 

President Liebtag joined other union leaders, as well as community activists from Veterans groups, civil rights organizations, and good-government coalitions. Speakers were unanimous in their disapproval of the proposed changes--especially due to the potential for patronage, discrimination, and favoritism.

For Local 1036's full testimony, click the link below: 

Liebtag Testimony

About CWA 1036

Communications Workers of America Local 1036 represents over 7,000 members and working families in both the public and private sector. Our members excel in a variety of careers working for the State of NJ, the NJ Judiciary, county and municipal government, and the health care industry: blue collar, professionals, administrative, attorneys, scientists, 911 dispatchers, librarians, engineers, nursing home workers, environmental professionals, doctors, and more.

NJ State Contracts

Executive Branch Units
(7/1/2011 - 6/30/2015)


Judiciary Members
(7/1/2012-6/30/2016)

** Contracts require Adobe Acrobat Reader (download)