NEWLY ELECTED CWA NATIONAL PRESIDENT CHRIS SHELTON ADDRESSES THE 2015 CWA CONVENTION
NEWLY ELECTED DISTRICT 1 VICE PRESIDENT DENNIS TRAINOR
STATEMENT BY CWANJ ON THE SUPREME COURT PENSION RULING
From CWA Director Hetty Rosenstein:“We hoped the Court would uphold the basic tenet that the law is what it says it is. But the fact that they didn’t rule for us is merely another obstacle that we will overcome. Governor Christie broke his word, and whatever shred of credibility he had left when he refused to fund the pension. Our union will never permit the destruction of the pension system and, as such, the destruction of New Jersey’s economy. If it is unconstitutional to meet the pension obligation, perhaps we will have to change the constitution. But one thing I know is this: we will fight, and we will win.”
VICTORY FOR LABOR-ENDORSED CANDIDATES FOR PERS BOARD
The results of the PERS Board Election are in with an overwhelming win for your union-endorsed candidates Carey Brown for State Worker Rep. and Tracy Smith for County Worker Rep!
Public workers in New Jersey have not only maintained the pro-worker majority on the PERS Board, but have expanded it! And it's a HUGE win to make sure the Board continues to hold the Christie Administration accountable for under-funding the pension.
Congratulations to our very own Carey Brown, AFSCME's Tracy Smith and the tens of thousands of public employees who voted to maintain a pro-worker majority on the PERS Board! Please share to spread the good news!
THE RALLY TO PROTECT OUR PENSION
TUESDAY, MAY 12 IN TRENTON
LOCAL 1014 CAMDEN COUNTY NEGOTIATIONS REPORT
Since our last Negotiations Report to you in December, the parties at the table have made progress—not as much as we’d like and not as quickly as we’d like—but we have made progress. Based on the union’s discussions with management officials and their representatives at the table, management recognizes the progress made and seeks to bring the negotiations to a conclusion as soon as possible.
The Local 1014 Negotiating Committee works with the goal of reaching the best agreement possible as soon as possible. Committee members recognize the importance of BOTH factors. And they continually keep in mind that any agreement reached at the table must be ratified by bargaining unit members.
The Committee is ready to extend negotiating sessions and trade proposals but, up until now, management has not been ready to do the same in any more than a limited way. However, as the number of issues under discussion is reduced, the ability to quickly exchange proposals should increase.
HERE is the current report which includes the status of the most significant contract issues under discussion.
We are scheduled to meet next with management on May 19 and again on June 3. We plan to meet on a regular basis until an agreement is reached.
NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE: Leah Hicks, Nidia Sinclair, Eunice Robinson, Steve Miller, Marianne McGee, Mike Lydic, Ken Rice, Sue Warner, Anthony Sirolli, Rolando Otero, Fred Alexander and Mike Procajalo
Join CWA's Member Education Program for Rapid Response Mobilization!!
In the next three months, Chris Christie is going ot attack your pension, and try to decrease the value of your health care as you pay a higher percentage of the premium for it -- all because he want to violate the law HE SIGNED in 2011. He is also going to push a Constitutional Amendment to end your non-forfeitable right to your pension formula.
The proposed cuts dwarf the cuts made in the 2011 pension and benefits legislation.
CWA will be working overtime to make sure you know what's happening and are engagin in the fith to protect our jobs and benefits.
Tele-town halls to explain what's happening and get input from you about how we move forward
Emails to keep you updated
Text message alerts
Robo calls or other calls for rapid member moblization
Workers Could lose between 22% and 50% of their pensions under the Christie Freeze Plan
The experts who are concerned with retirement security in the United States oppose cash balance and 401K plans. Our current plan benefit is paid for mostly by us. It is something we can count on. It provides a better benefit, we are legally entitled to it (90% of our members have a non-forfeitable right to the benefit), and the law provides that we are legally entitled to have it funded.
Here’s the other point that everyone needs to understand. EVEN IF YOU FREEZE THE PLAN AND GO FORWARD WITH A NEW PLAN – THE OLD FROZEN PLAN WILL GO BANKRUPT WITHOUT THE PAYMENTS! IN FACT, WITHOUT THE MONEY GOING INTO THE OLD PLAN FROM ACTIVE MEMBERS CONTRIBUTIONS – IT WILL GO BANKRUPT FASTER. (FULL REPORT)
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Baltimore Harbor Trip
On a beautiful June day, Local 1014 members, family and friends went to the Baltimore Harbor. The group cruised arond the harbor on the Seadog and enjoyed the sights. After the cruise, many attendees enjoyed Maryland crabs and shopping. A GREAT time was had by all. (6/17/15)
Local 1014 Night at the Phillies 2015
On a perfect night for baseball, Local 1014 members attended the June 5, Friday night game at Citizens Bank Park. Even though our hometown Phillies lost to the San Francisco Giants, 5-4, an enjoyable time was had by all.