REPORT ON CWA LOCAL 1014 NEGOTIATIONS WITH CAMDEN COUNTY
The following is intended to provide a summary of the current status of contract negotiations.
BACKGROUND – The current negotiations between CWA Local 1014 and Camden County for workers in the Large, Blue Collar, Crafts, Supervisory and Mosquito Commission bargaining units was initiated prior to the expiration of the current collective agreement at the end of 2012.
While the Union’s proposal was initially limited to wage increases (with a few additional minor proposals), Camden County came in with a long list of proposed worker concessions. This was on top of the concessions obtained from the workers in the prior negotiations—including two years with no wage increases (2008 and 2009) and a one-time payment of $1,750 in 2011 (for most units), the elimination of step increases in the Large Unit contract, the elimination of sick leave sell-back at retirement (effective 12/31/15 for most units), elimination of fully paid retirement health benefits for those with 25 years of service. Despite this, within months of the settlement, approximately 250 bargaining unit workers were laid off. The ONLY major gain for the Union (for most units) was the reimbursement of Medicare B premiums in retirement. (read more)
Henry J. Dunn III Scholarship Fund Awards $10,000 In Scholarships
The Henry J. Dunn III scholarship program awarded $10,000 in scholarships at the CWA Local 1014 General Membership Meeting on March 24. Twenty recipients (list of recipients) each received a $500 scholarship. The program once again awarded a $500 scholarship to each eligible applicant. One special scholarhip was awarded. Jessica Waters received the Freeholder Scholarship which is presented annually in recognition of the Camden County Freeholder Board's donation of $10,000 in memory of former Council #10 President Henry "Dinny" Dunn. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients. (Photos from General Membership Meeting)
CWA Statement to Members on Pension Lawsuit Decision and Gov. Christie's Response
NJ District Director
Dear CWA Members,
Yesterday, Superior Court Judge Jacobson issued a decision ordering that the State of New Jersey must make its pension payments. In a scathing 130-page ruling, she said that Christie broke his own “pension reform” law and violated the contractual rights of public employee unions in the process. Governor Christie immediately personally attacked the Judge, a respected jurist who was appointed by a Republican governor. He vowed to appeal the decision and said that pensions and benefits must be cut further. He also issued a notice that he is working with the NJEA on a deal. (A report will come out today as to what the Governor's Pension Commission has come up with. Do not expect it to have detailed numbers in it or for the math to add up. We do not believe that there is an actual "deal". ) The Governor's hypocrisy in saying that he wants to work cooperatively while attacking and appealing a legal decision that upheld the law that he signed, knows no bounds.
CWA's position is:
There is NO way to eliminate the costs that have already accumulated to the system. The payments must be made. The Judge said so. And, contrary to what Christie might believe, the law is not theater or something that can be rewritten in a back room deal with a Commission.
The numbers have to add up. The $1.3 billion that Christie has proposed to put into the pension plan will bankrupt the system in a decade or so. Any discussion of a "solution" to the pension issue has to begin with making payments to the plan - not with cutting benefits.
CWA has spent more than 20 years fighting to protect the pension plan of our members. It is the number one issue for the public sector today.
We will not walk away from our lawsuit.
Governor Christie has both a legal and moral obligation to obey the law. We will not allow him to walk away from that obligation. No discussions with another Union will change our obligation and commitment to our members. No discussions between another Union and Governor Christie will change his obligation to obey the law.
We will need YOU. We will need our members to support this position. We will need you to commit to fight as hard for pension funding as you have ever fought for anything. We will need you to come to Trenton. We will need you to call your Legislators. We will need you to put yourself on the line to protect these benefits. We cannot do it without the full support of our members.
Every action that CWA has taken and will take with regard to our pension will continue to be determined by our elected Leadership. We will never abandon our commitment to protect our members' pension plan. We will always talk - to both Legislators and to the Governor.
We do want a permanent solution to the never ending under funding of the pension.
But fundamentally, the Governor must agree that law must be obeyed. Our message to the Governor is clear: Obey the law - put the money in.
Vice President, CWA District 1
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February, 24th, 2015
CWA RELEASES VIDEO ON HOW CHRISTIE’S ILLEGAL FAILURE TO FUND PENSION PUTS NEW JERSEYANS AT FINANCIAL RISK
Christie Blows Equivalent of Avg. Year’s Pension on One Hotel Stay in the Middle East
(TRENTON, NJ) – On the morning of Governor Chris Christie’s Budget Address – and a day after a superior court judge struck down Christie’s plan to cut contributions to the public pension system - the Communications Workers of America (CWA) released a video highlighting how the governor’s failure to fund the pension puts hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans at financial risk. Christie doesn't understand what it’s like in the real world, as he wastes the equivalent of an average full-year’s pension on one weekend of luxury travel in the Middle East.
If Christie gets his way, he’ll have skipped more pension payments than any governor in New Jersey history - even as he repeatedly claimed he “fixed” the pension system. Christie’s preferred course of action puts the system on a road to bankruptcy in 10-12 years. Christie has skipped approximately $14.9 billion in required pension payments during his time in office. And while Democrats in the New Jersey legislature sent him a budget last June that would have made the full legally-required payment without harming any middle-class family, Christie vetoed out the revenue – along with $1.6 billion in pension payments.
That is why CWA took him to court, and won. In a scathing ruling yesterday, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that Christie broke his own “pension reform” law and violated the contractual rights of public employee unions in the process.
“Yesterday was a good day for the tens of thousands of pensioners - social workers, child protective services workers, nurses, environmentalists, unemployment clerks, roads workers, research scientists, teachers and others - who made their pension payments during a lifetime of service,” said Hetty Rosenstein, CWA NJ State Director. “It's unconscionable that these hard-earned pensions are in peril, and we can't let that happen. It's not only a legal requirement for Governor Christie to make the pension payments, it's also a moral requirement. Will another three hundred thousand seniors live in poverty simply because Christie cares more about what plays to right-wing audiences in Iowa than doing right by New Jerseyans?”
Civilian state employees work their entire careers in service to the public and chip in 7.5% of their pay for a pension at retirement. At the end of their careers, they’re due a pension of an average of $26,000 a year. Christie broke the very law he signed and refused to make the payments to pay the State's portion of that pension plan. Even worse, he argued to the Court that the State should never have to make those payments. If those payments aren’t made soon, the pension plan will go broke and hundreds of thousands of active and retired public workers may lose their retirement security.
“Governor Christie has made a lot of promises about our pension system, and he hasn't kept them,” said Grace Bethea, who worked for New Jersey Network for 37 years. “We were promised we’d get healthcare and a decent pension when we retired. And when it was time for me to retire, I deferred a portion of my pension for my daughters. I’m concerned that when its time for my loved ones to collect that money, it simply wont be there.”
Earlier this month, the New York Times ran a front-page story with the headline “Chris Christie Shows Fondness For Luxury Benefits When Others Foot The Bill.” It detailed how “Christie’s first-class tastes have become well-known” a and that “Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Christie has indulged a taste that runs more toward Champagne at the Four Seasons.” It gave a specific example of how Christie’s family stayed in rooms in hotels in the Middle East that “cost about $30,000”. This is more than the average pension – which comes in at $26,000. The average pension is approximately $26,000 after a career of public service – that is less than the $30,000 Governor Christie blows on one night in a hotel room in the Middle East.
“I’m barely meeting ends,” said Dennis Siegel, who worked as a psychologist for the Department of Corrections and Department of Human Services for 27 years. “I don't have the luxury of staying in five star hotels or flying in a private jet. My pension is $33,000 a year - that's a weekend for Chris Christie in the Middle East.”
Workers have done their part and are paying more. Christie needs to do his part, by following the very law he touted and signed in 2011. Chapter 78 was passed with the promise of “saving the pension.” It included strong language guaranteeing payments would be made to the pension plan in 1/7th increments. In doing so, it increased pension contributions by 25% for state workers, eliminating the Cost-Of-Living Adjustment and reducing the value of the pension plan by 30% going forward. Additionally, Chapter 78 raised the cost of and eliminated collective bargaining for healthcare. It significantly lowered the standard of living for active CWA members and even more so for future retirees. All this came to fruition, and the State should be expected to live up to the law and its commitments by funding the pension.
The New Jersey civilian pension plan is now one of America’s most modest public sector plans. The state ranks 95th in pension generosity among the country’s 100 largest plans. New Jersey’s pension system is worth $80 billion and covers approximately 770,000 current and retired employees.
CWA Celebrates Black History Month
On Thursday, February 26, 2015, at Local 1084's office, CWANJ's own Alan Kaufman addressed members of the Camden County CWA Coalition (Local 1014, 1038, 1079 and 1084) about his time spent as a Freedom Rider followed by the acclaimed PBS documentary "Freedom Rider." (Additional photos)
New Jersey League of Municipalities Shares Concern That State Will Combine Local and State Pension Funds
NJ League of Municipalities Executive Director Bill Dressel expressed the concern of many of its members that the special commission convened by Govenor Christie last summer to recommend changes to the pension system could propose merging the state's suffering pension fund with the fund for local (county and municipal) government workers.
"We have heard from various sources that this is a very real possibility," Dressel said. "And before the report is actually printed and distributed, we feel we have an obligation to at least go on record that make the public and the folks under the gold dome on West State Street know that this isn't an option."(read more)
THE CWA LOCAL 1014 MEMBER OF THE YEAR IS.......... SUSAN WARNER
At the December 2014 Trustee Meeting/Holiday Dinner, Local 1014 awarded Susan Warner the 2014 Member of the Year! Sue has been employed with Camden County for 14 years and works in the County Health Department Senior Services Division. She serves on Local 1014's Audit, Dental, Golf Tournament, Vision and County Negotiations Committees. Over the past two years, Sue has collected over $2,000 in 50/50 money to benefit the Henry J Dunn Memorial Scholarship Fund! Sue lives by the motto..."Its For The Kids!" She is now known around the Union as Sue "its for the kids" Warner! Congratulations Sue!
NJ Public Workers Pay More than Most Public Workers in Other States Says NJ Spotlight Story
Under 2011 law, employee healthcare contribution are based on ‘ability to pay’ with sliding scale ranging from 3 percent to 35 percent of premium
Three-and-a-half years ago, the state Pension and Health Benefits Study Commission appointed by Gov. Chris Christie would have had an easy time arguing that public employees should pay more toward their healthcare, as Christie has asserted.
At that time, the average state worker was paying just 3.6 percent of health premium costs, and some teachers, police, and local government employees were paying nothing at all, toward some of the most expensive healthcare policies in the country.
Today, however, while the cost of New Jersey public employee health insurance coverage remains the third-highest in the nation, most New Jersey public employees are paying more than the national average for state government workers toward their health insurance costs, an NJ Spotlight analysis shows. (read more)
In Local 1014 Election, Corresponding Secretary Position Goes to Robinson
In a vote of all Local 1014 members on October 28, incumbent Corresponding Secretary Eunice Robinson defeated Sachina Evans 274 to 139. Robinson, a Sr. Juvenile Detention Officer at the Camden County Youth Center has been the union's Corresponding Secretary for over 13 years. Evans works in the Camden City Attorney's Office as a Paralegal Specialist. She serves City Non-supervisory Unit members as a Shop Steward.
Also elected unopposed were:
Karl Walko - President
Leah Hicks - Vice President
Tytanya Ray - Financial Secretary/Treasurer
Valerie Castagna - Recording Secretary
Orlando Munoz - Sgt. at Arms
Dave Ewing - Trustee, City Non-Supervisory Unit
Barbara Bellamy-Johnson, Trustee, City Non-Supervisory Unit
Sue Warner - Trustee, County Large Unit
Marianne McGee - Trustee, County Large Unit
Linda Dilks - Trustee, Library Support Staff Unit
Laura Porter - Trustee, Library Support Staff Unit
Domenic Martino - Trustee, Gloucester Township PW Unit
David Domansky - Trustee, Gloucester Township PW Unit
Joe Belfiore - City Parking Authority Unit
All those elected were to be sworn in at the Local's General Membership Meeting on 10/28.
Governor's Pension Change Won't Work
LOW PAY NOTOK
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)
ongoing for the Camden County Large, Blue Collar, Crafts and Supervisory Units, the Camden County Mosquito Commission Unit, the County Library Supervisory Unit, the City of Camden Supervisory and Non-supervisory Units and the Gloucester Township Administrative Staff, Public Works and Supervisory Units.
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 email@example.com
Local 1014 Partners with HCAMS for Member Assistance
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.
The AFL-CIO created Union Privilege in 1986 to provide union members and their families with valuable consumer benefits. With Union Plus benefits, your union membership "pays" at work and at home.By using the collective buying power of unions, we are able to offer valuable, discounted products and services exclusively to working families. Savings. Service. Solidarity.
Current benefits include discounts on AT&T cell plans, auto insurance, movie tickets, Dell computers, amusement parks and hotels.
Member Activities Updates
Local 1014 Sponsors Radio City Christmas Show Trip
Local 1014 members, family and friends attended the 2014 Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes in New York on Sunday, November 23, 2014. The bus trip was a sell-out (11/26/14)
Local 1014 Night at the Phillies 2014
On a perfect night for baseball, Local 1014 members attending the May 30, Friday night game got their money’s worth and more. Five hours, 23 minutes after the start of the game, Phillies 3rd baseman Reid Brignac ended the marathon by ripping an 0-1 pitch to left field to score the winning run in the 14th inning in a 6-5 victory over the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.
General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants(Flier)
Friday, June 5, 2015
Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Local 1014 Bus Trip to Baltimore's Inner Harbor(Flier)