Following the voter of members on February 18 and February 19 (see posting below), Camden County Council #10 became CWA Local 1014.
While union representatives and those currently serving members through the union office will remain the same, many things will quickly change. For instance, those that call the union office are now greeted, “CWA Local 1014”. (So don’t hang up if you want us.) Letterhead, envelopes, forms, etc. will all be changed in the coming weeks. Our newsletter, website and social media accounts will change in the near future to reflect our new name and our affiliation.
More importantly, we will be working with the CWA District and National offices to improve our services to members as rapidly and as fully as possible. And as new CWA members, Local 1014 members are now part of a national union at the forefront of the fight for working Americans and the middle class.
Pine Hill Unit Approves 2013-2016 Agreement
Local 1014's Pine Hill bargaining unit ratified a new contract on April 7 for 2013-2016. The agreement included increases in each year of the contract.
Local 1014 Shop Steward Woody Cuffee Tells CWA Town Hall Conference Call About the Council #10 Affiliation
Winslow Township Unit Shop Steward spoke to CWA members across the nation on March 20 about the 1,500 members of Council #10 becoming CWA members. Woody told listeners why the independent Council #10 needed to become part of a national union and what public employees in New Jersey are currently facing. This is the second time Woody has been a CWA member. While an employee of Verizon, Woody was in Local 1300. (Listen to Woody - Click on Arrow at Top of Page)
CWA Local 1014 Awards $11,000 in Scholarships
At its March 25, 2014 General Membership Meeting, Local 1014 awarded $11,500 in scholarships--$500 to each of 23 students. The recipients are the sons and daughters of Local 1014 members in their senior year of high school. Since 1997, the union has awarded $178,800 in scholarships.
Congratulations to the recipients. Thanks to the Scholarship and Golf Tournament Committees, the Local 1014 office staff and all those that participated in the fundraising by either soliciting contributions or contributing themselves.
Council #10 Members Approve Affiliation with CWA 573-118
In the February 18 and 19 voting on the affiliation of Council #10 with the Communications Workers of America AFL-CIO, 573 members voted in favor of the affiliation and 118 members voted against affiliation.
Council #10 is now affiliated with the CWA.
Thank you to all who participated in the vote!
(At left, Council #10 President Walko and CWA Director Rosenstein seal the affiiation with a handshake)
TheSummer 2013 Edition of "The Workforce", Council #10's newsletter is now available. (7/10/13)
Council #10 Prosecutor's Office Unit Ratifies Six-Year Bargaining Agreement
The Camden County Prosecutor's Clerical and Admnistrative Unit has reached a contract agreement(2011-2016) with management . The agreement includes one year without an increase but 2% wage increases in each of the other five years. The agreement was signed by the parties on January 14.
State Assembly Takes Action to Stop Civil Service Changes
Unconvinced by assurances from a state agency, the state Assembly on January 6 moved forward with legislation aimed at stopping a rule change Democrats say could undermine the Civil Service system created to protect public employees. The Assembly voted 48 - 31 to approve the Democrat-backed resolution that would stop the New Jersey Civil Service Commission from instituting “jobs banding” that would give managers more say in moving employees from one position to another without an exam. (Full Story)
The "Boss" on the Governor and the GWB Scandal
Camden County Health Services Center Taken Over by For-Profit Business
On November 25, Ocean Healthcare, based in Lakewood, NJ, took over the Camden County Health Services Center in the county's Lakeland Complex. Ocean Healthcare has purchased a number of former county hospitals in New Jersey including the Burlington County Hospital formerly known as "Buttonwood". The takeover includes ownership of the hospital building and grounds. The new owner will operate the long-term care facility at the facility while Camden County will lease a portion of the building and continue to operate the behavioral health unit. The new owner has an option to take over the behavioral health unit with 120 days notice. Council #10 represented approximately 120 of the over 500 workers at the facility. The takeover resulted in the layoff of approximately 50 Council #10 represented employees.
Council #10 Swears In a New Treasurer
At the October 1 meeting of the Council #10 Board of Trustees, the Union’s Vacancy Committee recommendation was approved unanimously resulting in the appointment of Tytanya (Tee) Ray as the Union’s new Financial Secretary-Treasurer. Tee replaces Tami Goree who served as Treasure since September 2003. Tami resigned due to additional personal and employment commitments.
Tee has been a Council #10 representative for City of Camden employees since 2004 and served on the Board of Trustees prior to her appointment as Treasurer. She was a member of the contract negotiating committee during the past two negotiations. She has worked for the City since 1993 and is currently a Technical Assistant Contract Administration in the Department of Planning and Development. Her responsibilities with the City include keeping track of various Federal and State funded capital improvement projects.
As treasurer, she oversees the Union’s funds, maintains financial records and pays the bills. In addition, she provides advice and guidance to the President and Vice President on all union issues.
President Karl Walko said he was saddened to lose Tami Goree but felt fortunate to have Tee Ray as her replacement. He said he felt that integrity and loyalty to the Union and its members were the two most important qualifications for the position. He said he always felt comfortable with Tami overseeing the Union’s finances and anticipates the same with Tee.
Candice Jefferson Elected City of Camden Supervisory Unit President
In the only contested Council #10 election on October 22, Candice Jefferson defeated incumbent Wanda Garcia as City Supervisory Unit President. Candice is a Chief Clerk in the Development and Planning Department. This is her first position in the Union. Other candidates for open Trustee Board positions were unchallenged. Those newly elected Trustees include Gary Still (City Supervisory Unit Trustee), Ross Laboy (City Non-supervisory Unit Trustee), Ken Rice (County Large Unit Trustee), Mike Lydic (County Large Unit Trustee), Mike Procajlo (County Mosquito Commission Unit Trustee), Steve Miller (County Blue Collar Unit Trustee), Joe Tracy (County Prosecutor's Office Unit Trustee), George Fuchs (CCHSC Regular Unit Trustee), Alfred Grasso (CCHSC Regular Unit Trustee), Dennis Collins (CCHSC Crafts Unit Trustee), Marcel Gloster (Winslow Unit Trustee), Nancy Morgan (Winslow Unit Trustee).
Henry J. Dunn, III Golf Tourney Raises $9,000 for Scholarships
The annual Henry J. Dunn, III Scholarship Golf Tournament on September 19 at Valleybrook Golf Club raised exactly $9,000 for scholarships. Established by Camden County Council #10 in 1996, the Scholarship Fund was created to assist deserving sons and daughters of Council #10 members in furthering their education beyond high school. The Scholarship Fund and the annual golf tournament were renamed in 2001 in honor of past Council #10 President Henry J. “Dinny” Dunn who passed away in the spring of that year. Dunn was the first full-time president of Council #10 and the primary force in establishing the scholarship fund.
The fund awarded twenty $500 scholarships this year. The Golf Tournament was first held in September 1996 and has been the principle source of revenue for the fund. Since 1996, the fund has awarded over $167,000.00 to eligible students. Council #10 would like to thank you for your continued support over the years in assisting the Scholarship Fund to reach its goal. Photos of Event
Exposed: Privatizers and Profiteers Selling Out Our Democracy
Who is buying America’s public assets – its prisons, water supply systems and other institutions and facilities that provide essential services and support our communities? The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) offers answers through a new website that lays bare the ugly side of privatization.
Council #10 Donates Towards Student Backpack Distribution in South Camden
Council #10 contributed funding to the distribution of backpacks to students in South Camden on September 7.
Inequality is Real, Let's Fix It!
Winslow Township Signs New Agreement
On May 20, 2013 President Walko and Council #10 Representatives signed their new four-year agreement with Winslow Township. The bargaining unit includes approximately 70 members working in clerical, professional and blue collar titles. The contract covers years 2012-2016 with increases totaling 10% over the 5-year period.
(l. to r. - John Smith, Burt Wolfe, Lisa Dority, Joe Gallagher, Mayor Wright, Woody Cuffee, Dayna Pitts, standing-Marcel Gloster, Nancy Morgan, Shannon Butler)
Unions Make the Middle Class
CWA's Hetty Rosenstein on New Jersey Civil Service "Broadbanding"
County Negotiations Committee Issues Report on Initial Proposals by Union and Management
The Camden County Multi-Unit (Large, Blue Collar, Crafts, Mosquito and Supervisory Units) Negotiations Committee authorized the release of a report outlining the initial proposals by both Camden County and Council #10 in the ongoing negotiations for successor contracts. The current collective agreements expired on December 31.
After agreeing to sign an agreement in the last negotiations which offered significant concessions to management, Council #10 has once again received a proposal in which Camden County is extremely aggressive in seeking additional concessions. All the same, Council #10 and your negotiations team remain focused on reaching a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement regardless of the County’s proposal.
Unit members can anticipate progress reports throughout the negotiations. (1/5/13)
Council #10 President Walko Addresses County Freeholders on Layoffs, Cutbacks in Benefits and Upcoming Negotiations -
Council #10 President Karl Walko addressed the Board of Freeholders at their July 2012 meeting in Collingswood. The full text of the address is as follows:
Council #10 does not expect the County to hire employees just to improve the economy but we want to point out what has happened in this recession and how it is so different than the past.
During past recessions, local and state government increased employment; however, during this recession, the public sector nationwide shrunk by 706,000 jobs. Government job losses are now the single biggest drag on the economy. Undoubtedly, it has had an impact on Camden County’s economy.
Beyond the numbers, it is important that the Board keep in mind how government differs from the private sector.
In the private sector, businesses start, grow, shrink and go out of business. Others come in their place. Businesses gain and lose customers. While constant comparisons are made, government is different. The service provided by public workers is critical to the community and for obvious reasons there are normally no alternatives for customers. As a result, stability in services is much more important in the public sector. And in order to provide the stability in services, stability in the work force is critical.
Over the past few years, Camden County has lost a vast number of employees—many of those employees had substantial organizational knowledge. Now, at some work sites, it’s like they are starting over from scratch. Services are suffering and will suffer more with further losses. When the current Council #10 contracts end at the end of this year, many additional long-term employees will be leaving. This only adds to the problem.
Council #10 saw cutbacks coming. We believed the County should invest in its employees so that fewer employees could maintain or even increase services. We believed that through training, technology and better equipment, this could be done. And through attrition, the overall number of jobs could be reduced. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Nevertheless, we are still prepared to be partners in improving the productivity of employees and improving services from their current level.
While not much can be done to retain retiring employees, Camden County needs to consider its remaining employees and the services they provide. With a smaller workforce, it becomes even more important that the County hires and retains fully qualified employees.
Council #10 members in trouble have often been described to me as “your problem member”. Just as often, I responded that if Council #10 did the hiring, a lot of problem employees would never have been hired. We ask that you focus on hiring reliable employees.
But more important, we ask that you focus on what you offer qualified employees. The advantages of public employment have continually shrunk over the past years and especially in the past few years.
Now and over the next few years:
Employees will be contributing a much larger portion of the cost of their health insurance coverage. Some will lose over $5,000 per year in pay. Now there will be little advantage over private sector jobs especially with the coming implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Pensions are currently reduced, and for new employees, greatly reduced. In fact, it’s not clear what will happen with the entire pension system. A government pension no longer has its previous attraction.
Salaries in more skilled positions lag behind the private sector.
Most importantly, public workers are being demonized in the media by irresponsible officials. Existing workers are demoralized by the attacks. Many are retiring, counting the days until they can retire or are regretting the day they took a government job. Candidates for employment will think twice about taking a position so subject to abuse.
We have negotiations coming up this fall. We believe it is in the interest of everyone to reach a FAIR agreement as quickly as possible. But we believe in collective bargaining and the importance of the collective agreement to County employees. The current agreement was negotiated over the past forty plus years. While we recognize that negotiations mean changes in the contract, it doesn’t mean that what the County now wants it should have. We expect the Board to have respect for the process. We believe that issuing proposals through the media in advance of negotiations was extremely destructive. We believe addressing employees directly and not through their elected bargaining unit representatives was extremely destructive. We believe that making proposals for the sake of public posturing is extremely destructive.
Current workers are generally confused about what to expect in the future, beaten down by attacks through the media and discouraged by the reductions in their pay and benefits. If they ever looked at the Board as a good employer, they no longer have that view.
Council #10 believes that resolution of successor collective agreements without unnecessary conflict is essential for the future in order for Camden County to attract and retain qualified employees as well as for improving the productivity of the current workforce.
We ask that you consider all of this in preparing for the upcoming negotiations.
Lower Premiums Results in Switch to State Health Benefits by County and City
Employees working for Camden County, County agencies and the City of Camden will be switching from "self-insured" employer health plans to the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP).
The City's decision follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the City last winter as part of its applicationn for State Transitional Aid. The MOU required the City to consider a "best practices" policy for obtaining health benefits which included a cost comparison of State health benefits against the existing plan. The Citizens Campaign, a non-partisan public interest organization also pushed adoption of policy. Their report indicated that switching to SHBP could save the City 3-24% for each employee's coverage depending on the type of coverage the employee received (single, parent/child, husband/wife, family).
Both the County and the City received recommendations to switch to SHBP from their broker Connor Strong Buckelew because of the anticipated savings.
The lower premiums will also result in savings to employees. With the implementation of the Chapter 78 law enacted by the State last summer, all state and local government employees in New Jersey will pay an increasingly greater portion of the actual cost of their health benefit coverage over the next several years. The four-year phase in requires employees to pay 25%, 50%, 75% and then the "full" contribution in successive years. In year four, employees will be paying up to 30% of the cost depending on salary and type of coverage they receive. The start of the phase in begins either on the date of the legislation's enactment (6/28/11) or at the end of contracts that were in effect on that date.
SHBP offers 16 plan options including both PPO's and HMO's varying in cost.
Council #10 has pushed both City and County officials for years to enroll in SHBP because of the quality of the coverage and the reduced cost.
The County enrollment takes effect on September 1. The City plans enrollment on January 1, 2013.
This About Sums It Up
From the Star-Ledger
by Karl R. Walko
It's Time to Affiliate
Dear Union Brothers and Sisters:
At their regularly scheduled meetings in early January, I asked both the Council #10 Board of Trustees and the Council #10 Shop Stewards to consider an affiliation with the Communications of America (CWA). In making this suggestion, I had the full support of Vice President Leah Hicks. Leah and I have discussed a potential affiliation with the CWA for a number of years. Over the past weeks, we began formal discussions with CWA leadership in New Jersey in preparation for the discussion with the Board and Stewards.
CWA representatives met with the Board and Shop Stewards on January 14 to explain why the affiliation worked for both Council #10 and the CWA and what the CWA had to offer. The Council #10 representatives were enthusiastic in their response. As a result, Council #10 and the CWA will be reaching out to all Council #10 members through meetings and the distribution of information on the potential affiliation. A vote by members on the affiliation issue will be scheduled shortly.
In addition to introducing the issue and answering questions, I gave them my reasoning in a memo:
Council #10 has a long history beginning in 1935, during the Great Depression, when it was organized as part of the statewide New Jersey Civil Service Association (N.J.C.S.A.). Back then, the association and its member councils lobbied government officials on behalf of public employees but were legally prevented from negotiating collective agreements. In the late 1960’s, a change in state law permitted public workers to begin negotiating contracts with employers. The N.J.C.S.A. survived this change but many of its member councils either affiliated with or were replaced by national unions. In the mid-1980’s, Council #10 split off from what was left of the N.J.C.S.A. and became completely independent. The N.J.C.S.A. is now no longer a functioning organization.
Since the time of the split with the N.J.C.S.A., Council #10 has had little assistance from larger labor organizations. Nevertheless, we were able to adequately represent members because of our long history with local employers, our knowledge of local politics and the stability and continuity of our organization. During this period, Council #10 became the exception as almost all public workers throughout the state found the need to join national unions.
Over the past few years, the situation changed dramatically. Council #10’s ability to adequately represent members began to break down. Particularly since the collapse of the economy in 2008, public employers became more aggressive in their relations with labor. Reflecting a national mood, New Jersey passed laws in 2010 and 2011 which limited the rights of public employee unions to negotiate. Locally, public employers laid-off large portions of their workforce (and our members) and demanded contract concessions eliminating employee benefits which had been in place for years. Council #10 faced a locally dominant political machine that stretched statewide. We were too small and had too little political power to effectively fight for our members. Consequently, our goal in negotiations grew into trying to hang on to as much of the existing benefits as possible.
When the underlying forces which allowed Council #10 to remain on its own began to unravel, Vice President Leah Hicks and I recognized the growing problem and discussed potential options. Going back to 2009, the year in which we asked the Communications Workers of America Area Director Hetty Rosenstein to speak at our Shop Steward Seminar, we considered affiliation with the CWA as a potential option. We both felt that the CWA was the finest public employee union in New Jersey. Since that time we began working with the CWA on a number of issues including those related to changes in state law restricting the rights of public employee unions. We used the CWA as a source of information on those issues that went beyond our scope of knowledge. Through this cooperation, we gained a deeper appreciation of the CWA.
Recently, we began serious discussions with the CWA about a potential affiliation. Leah and I met with Hetty Rosenstein in late November to discuss how it might work. We have scheduled a special joint Council #10 trustee/shop steward meeting for Tuesday, January 14 in which CWA representatives will present the benefits of affiliation and explain how an affiliation could be brought to fruition.
The list below should help explain why both Leah and I think the time is now for affiliation and that the Communications Workers of America is our best option:
Why is it time?
Council #10 is too small to tackle the political machine we face. Affiliation won’t eliminate this problem but it will help. There IS a reason why little remains of the N.J.C.S.A. and why few independent public employee unions exist in New Jersey. Public employers have become more aggressive and small labor organizations have very limited leverage.
The rules of negotiations are being changed in Trenton and we don’t have a seat at the table.
Local government is dependent on aid from Trenton and we don’t have a seat at the table.
A national union provides the organizational stability that a small independent union cannot provide to its members. When things change—and they will—the CWA will be there and will help workers regain some of what we have lost.
State and national political campaigns are increasingly dominated by money from large donors who oppose everything unions represent. Workers need to stand together to oppose them. National unions provide the only real opposition.
Why the CWA?
The CWA is the strongest voice for public employees in Trenton. The CWA represents 40,000 state workers and 15,000 county and municipal workers throughout the state including county and municipal employees in Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic Counties. The CWA provides superior technical and political assistance which specifically meets the needs in public employee negotiations in New Jersey. No other national union, including AFSCME, represents public employees in New Jersey as effectively as the CWA.
Affiliation with the CWA will allow Council #10 to keep its local organization in place including its officers, board of trustees and legal counsel. It will also allow a phase-in of the CWA’s dues.
The CWA maintains “Retired Members Chapters” for its Locals allowing retirees to stay active, informed, and involved in the Local's advocacy for its membership.
The CWA offers us the opportunity to organize new members, rebuild our ranks and strengthen our voice.
The CWA is a major player in the fight for workers’ rights in Washington. The CWA, led by its President Larry Cohen, played a leading role in the coalition that finally pushed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to change the rules which allowed Republicans to filibuster almost all Obama appointments.
In summary, the time has come to affiliate and the CWA offers by far the best partner for Council #10.
ongoing for the Camden County Large, Blue Collar, Crafts and Supervisory Units, the Camden County Mosquito Commission Unit, the County Library Support Staff and Supervisory Units, the City of Camden Crossing Guard Unit and the Gloucester Township Administrative Staff, Public Works and Supervisory Units.
Need Documents Notarized?
A Notary Public is available in the Local 1014 Office. Local 1014 members needing documents notarized may come to the office to use this service free of charge (some limitations apply). If you have any questions, please contact Caroline Taylor at (856) 541-4191 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Local 1014 Partners with HCAMS
All Local 1014 members have access to HCAMS (Health Assistance with Membership Support), an employee assistance provider, assisting employees with stress-related conditions; behavioral health issues and drug and alcohol dependencies at no cost. Union representatives will offer the assistance to members before or at the early stages of discipline in order to head off more significant problems.
HCAMS has provided assistance to public employees in New Jersey for over 20 years as a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP). The currently partner with the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) and a number of CWA New Jersey locals.
Members can contact HCAMS directly at 1-888-828-7826.
NJ Division of Pensions & Benefits Provides Calculator for Determining Required Health Benefit Contribution for Those Covered by the State Health Benefit Plan
The New Jersey Division of Pensions & Benefits provides an on-line calculator for employees wishing to determine the health benefit contribution they are required to pay as a result of the pension and benefit law passed in June 2011 (P.L. 2011, c.78). Employees will need to know the plan they elected and their year of phase in (1, 2, 3 or 4) in order to use the chart.
Member Activities Updates
Council #10 Sponsors Kinky Boots Show Trip
Sixty-six A busload of Council #10 members saw the Tony award winning show, Kinky Boots at the Al Hirschfeld Theater on 45th St. in New York on Sunday, November 10, 2013. The show was a big hit to all that attended. (12/1/13)
Council #10 Night at the Phillies 2013
Sixty-six Council #10 members and family attended the Philadelphia Phillies game on June 21 at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia as part of Council #10’s “Night with the Phillies.” While the weather cooperated with one of the nicest evenings of early summer, the Phillies lost to the New York Mets 4-3. Cole Hamels was the starting pitcher for the Phillies while Jeremy Hefner started for the Mets. The Phillies scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning to take an early lead, but the Mets scored 4 runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings to win the game. Even though our Phillies lost, it was a great night for baseball. (6/25/13)
Council #10 Visits Baltimore's Inner Harbor
The Council #10 Activities Committee sponsored bus trip on June 15 to Baltimore Inner Harbor was fortunate in having perfect weather to explore and enjoy the many attractions available to visitors. As part of the trip agenda, participants were provided a tour of the harbor on a "Seadog" speedboat tour. According to those on the boat, the tour guide's constant banter was as enjoyable as the view. After dinner, the group headed home--tired but happy.
The Activities Committee is already discussing another Inner Harbor Trip for next year. (Event photos)