Henry J. Dunn Memorial Scholarship Fund - $500 Scholarships Available
Applications are now being accepted for $500 scholarships. Camden County Council #10 awards a limited number of scholarships each year. To be eligilble to apply, a student must be certified as prepared for college or trade school by his/her school Guidance Office, be in his/her senior year of high school, and be the child of a Council #10 member in good standing (current with dues payment). Applications are avilable through the student's high school Guidance Office, online at www.council 10.org, or through the Union Office. Applications must be received by the end of business on Friday, March 7, 2014. Winners are selected in a random drawing from all eligible applications at the Council #10 March 25, 2014 General Membership Meeting. (12/05/13)
Walmart's Way of Taking Care of Its Employees at Thanksgiving
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.
Opinion: Civil service in New Jersey will come undone
Here’s something you never hear anyone from New Jersey say: “I think we need more patronage, nepotism and cronyism in government, and public workers should be promoted only if they contribute to the right political campaigns. Oh, and we’ve given way too much to those who defend America.”
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Gov. Chris Christie’s actions are saying when it comes to his latest proposal for “banding” jobs in the state’s civil service system, which would allow managers to move employees from one position to another without exams.
Christie’s proposal guts a good system that’s been in existence for more than a century. Civil service ensures that appointments and promotions of people who serve the public are determined based upon a system of merit and fitness for the job. Christie’s new proposal undermines promotions for those who deserve it and hands power over to politicians and back-room players. It also destroys taxpayer protections so important they’re enshrined in our state constitution. More......
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"
Council #10 is now on Twitter
Council #10 is now reaching out to members through Twitter. We look forward to using social media to improve service. Follow us at @Council_10. See you on Twitter!
Stand Up for Civil Service-Stop Broadbanding
The Civil Service Commission held a public hearing on April 10 on its proposal to replace current civil service rules with a new “job banding” system that would affect all classified employees in State, County, and Local Government. There was NO decision by the CSC at the hearing since it was only the first step in the public hearing process. Public comments are due by May 17th. Sometime after the public comment period, the rule will be re-published. The full Commission will need to vote on adoption of the final rule.
The rule proposal would eliminate veteran’s preference, objective exams, lists and rankings, and the rule of three. The proposal would also base future promotional advancement solely on interviews of candidates that management deems “competent,” and anyone deemed not “competent” could potentially be demoted. In other words, the proposal is a giveaway to management patronage and will certainly lead to discrimination, favoritism, and other workplace problems.
Yesterday was the first step in the process where the Commission is required under law to hold a public hearing. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests in advance and at the hearing to move the meeting to a larger room, the hearing room held less than 50 people. Over 100 members from many unions and many CWA locals picketed outside for the duration of the hearing. All testimony over the course of two hours was strongly against the rule proposal. There was not a single person who testified in support.
Legislators testified against the rule: Senator Linda Greenstein, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, and Assemblyman Dan Benson spoke about their personal experience with civil service and their strong opposition to the rule since it bypasses statute and collective bargaining. Community allies from Garden State Equality, Latino Action Network, Next Step, a disability rights group, and others spoke against the rule because it will eliminate protections for minorities, women, the disabled, and others who are more likely to suffer from discrimination and favoritism.
Labor testimony came from CWA, IFPTE, AFSCME, and others. CWA NJ Director Hetty Rosenstein cited how the CSC has not held one Labor Advisory Committee meeting of labor representatives during Gov. Christie’s term. Over 2,300 letters petitioning the CSC for additional public hearings were delivered by CWA Local 1036 President Adam Liebtag, Local 1032 President Patrick Kavanagh, and Local 1039 President Lionel Leach. In addition to the 2,300 CWA and community letters, the NJ AFL-CIO delivered another 700 letters collected from its membership, so there are now over 3,000 individual requests for additional public hearings.
CWA 1036 President Liebtag testified against the rule, tearing down the comparisons between the CSC rule and the Judiciary’s current broad banding system as well as criticizing the proposals.
A Notary Public is available in the Council #10 Office. Council #10 members needing documents notarized may come to the Union Office to use this service free of charge (some limitations apply). If you have any questions, please contact Caroline Taylor at the Union Office at (856) 541-4191 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council #10 Announces Partnership with an Employee Assistance Program Provider
On February 5, the Council #10 Board of Trustees approved a partnership with 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. Questions concerning the phase year should be directed to the union representative in your area or by contacting the Council #10 office (856) 541-4191.
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.
Unions Decline and Rising Inequality
This About Sums It Up
From the Star-Ledger
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 Camden County Prosecutor's Office Clerical Staff Unit, the Health Services Center Regular Unit, the City of Camden Crossing Guard Unit, Gloucester Township Administrative Staff, Public Works and Supervisory Units, and the Pine Hill Unit.
Enjoy Labor Day—You Work Hard Every Day. You Earned It.
by Karl R. Walko
Council #10 President
Dear Union Brothers and Sisters:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It establishes a yearly national acknowledgment of the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Through sweat, sacrifice and innovation, workers built this country and make it run every day.
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and spirit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations.
The Establishment of Labor Day
For a while, Labor Day had stiff competition from May 1. In 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions declared that, by May 1, 1886, the eight-hour workday should be in effect across the land. When legislators and employers failed to comply in time, the result was a general strike and the bloody Haymarket Riot in Chicago, which caused the deaths of eight police officers and led to the hangings of four labor activists. Ironically it was in Paris that a movement got underway to commemorate the labor activists who had died in Chicago at Haymarket Square. In Paris in 1889 the International Workingman's Association ( also known as the Second International) called for a worldwide demonstration on May 1, 1890 to honor those who had struggled for better conditions for labor in Chicago. The idea caught on and the international tradition of May Day was started. Today around the world in industrial nations, but also in many third world nations, International Labor Day is still celebrated. Amazingly enough among major nations the only country that neither recognizes nor celebrates International Labor Day on May 1 is the United States, even though it was events in Chicago that prompted the creation of May Day.
The Selection of September over May 1
Though May 1 became an important day for Socialists and Communists, state governments and less radical labor leaders feared that the date was too emotionally charged. In 1894, after President Grover Cleveland ordered the brutal suppression of the Pullman Strike, he realized that he had to do something to curry favor with the labor movement, which viewed him with contempt. Worried that a May 1 holiday would encourage rabble-rousing in commemoration of the Haymarket Riot, he followed the lead of several states and made the first Monday in September a federal holiday in honor of the workingman. The United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The political maneuver didn't achieve its desired effect, however: Cleveland lost the Democratic Party's 1896 presidential nomination to William Jennings Bryan.
Today’s Labor Day
Though progress has been made since that first Labor Day, backsliding has occurred and a great deal remains to be done. Today, we’re working longer hours, taking on multiple jobs and producing more goods and services. Yet workers’ wages have flat lined, except for those at the very top. America’s wealthiest 1% are reaping more and more from the increased productivity, while workers are just working harder and longer.
Workers need to act in solidarity to ensure the rewards of the economy are spread fairly and to guarantee good jobs and decent wages for all workers. So on this Labor Day, consider what you can do to help your working brothers and sisters. But make sure you enjoy the day—even if you have to work. You work hard every day. You’ve earned it.
Yours in Solidarity,
Karl R. Walko
Council #10 President
Council #10 Member Activities Updates -
COUNCIL #10 NIGHT WITH 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.
COUNCIL #10 VISITS BALTIMORE 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)