Local 1031 Honored for Organizing at 2023 CWA National Convention

CWA Vice President Kathy Hernandez was among those on hand to receive an award from CWA at our national convention, held in St. Louis last month. Local 1031 was honored for its outstanding work in organizing employees and building CWA power. Many thanks to all of our branch presidents, shop stewards, and members across the state for their hard work.

For more info, check out the CWA website: https://cwa-union.org/news/cwa-locals-and-leaders-honored-organizing-efforts-2023-cwa-convention

NJ State Executive Branch Bargaining Update – 8/7/2023

One Day Longer, One Day Stronger

First, we want to offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. She was a well-respected leader who broke barriers as a woman of color throughout her political career, including being the first African American Speaker of the Assembly and the first African American woman elected to statewide office. Her leadership will be deeply missed.

Below is a bargaining update which reflects our most recent session on August 7. Our three most recent bargaining sessions were held on July 31, August 1, and August

We have reached tentative agreements on many non-economic issues proposed by CWA including discipline, emergency rates, eyecare reimbursement, continuation of
the SHBP ombudsperson program to assist members with medical and prescription issues, layoff rights for both classified and unclassified members, holidays, stronger
health and safety provisions, and continued clothing maintenance allowance.

During the last two sessions, we made progress on additional non-economic issues including union rights, job security and privatization, reduced use of emps/TES/part time positions, VWXY titles, and agreements to address civil service issues like supervisory positions and out-of-title work.

Salary increases, healthcare cost-sharing, and telework remain open and we expect intense negotiations over these issues. We will likely need to reach agreements on the
open non-economic issues before we can settle these most important issues. We have additional bargaining sessions scheduled during the remainder of August and CWA remains committed to winning a tentative agreement as soon as possible. Please stay in close contact with your Local for more information.

Dennis Trainor, District 1 Vice President
William Gallagher, District 1 Assistant to the VP
Fran Ehret, NJ Area Director
John Rose, Local 1031
Migdalia Santiago, Local 1032
Gaye Palmer, Local 1033
Adam Liebtag, Local 1036
Ken McNamara, Local 1037
Shawn Ludwig, Local 1038
Michele Long-Vickers, Local 1040

NJ State Bargaining Update 8/7/2023 (PDF)

State Workers Contract Bargaining Update – 6/27/2023


June 26, 2023

One day longer, One day stronger

Our CWA Bargaining Team has continued to meet with the State to try to reach a tentative agreement before our current contract expiration of June 30th. CWA has met with the State for 20 sessions, including several sessions throughout late May and early June.

As we know, our current contract remains in full force if we do not have a new ratified agreement before that date, but our goal has been to reach settlement by that date if possible.

We are writing to say we will need more time to get to a complete package that our Bargaining Team would recommend to members. From day one, CWA committed that we are not done with bargaining until we address every issue which members indicated is a priority in the best way possible. We are not there yet. We know that we can do better than what the State is offering, and we will continue negotiating until we have a contract that adequately addresses the needs of our members.

CWA made large and comprehensive demands over wages, telework, and other important issues. We took strong positions, and we are sticking to them. Our members set clear priorities for this contract: significant wage growth that breaks away from the patterns of the past eight years, protect the telework program and ensure that the program is equitable and enforceable, and protect against unaffordable and rapid healthcare increases. We are also trying to improve on prior contract language in areas like layoffs and privatization that protect us in the future.  In addition, we are looking to ensure that promotional opportunities are available to our members and are not handed out to political appointees, bypassing civil service procedures.

Here is the status of the highest priority issues:

  • Salary and Wages: We have made progress on modernizing the step system and creating growth, but we are looking to make more progress. Across the board increases are also still a sticking point. CWA made strong demands in these areas, and we have more work to do to reach a final salary package.
  • Healthcare: We have made progress to protect the Unity PPO plan and contain costs. Our current contract contains a process to reopen negotiations if future premiums increase by a certain amount. This type of reopener clause remains under discussion for our next contract. Again, healthcare is part of a final package, so our work isn’t finished on these issues.
  • Telework and Civil Service Issues: We must secure a process to deal with telework during the period that civil service regulations are created for a permanent program. We also must secure a quick and fair process to deal with disputes that arise on an ongoing basis. The State wants to retain as much control over telework as possible, so we are in intense discussions over how to resolve our issues as part of a final contract.

CWA Strong! Member mobilization has strengthened negotiations this far. We still have more work to do. 

As a recap, here is the timeline of negotiations so far:

  • Fall 2022 – Commenced bargaining preparation, which included surveying members on your priorities for these negotiations.
  • February 16 – First bargaining session.
  • March through April – Solidarity Days every Thursday to support negotiations.
  • April 26 – “Fair Contract” Petition with 10,000 signatures delivered to Governor’s Office by over 300 CWA members.
  • May – Solidarity Days continue.
  • May 31 – Worksite Picketing at over a dozen locations with thousands of CWA members.
  • 20 sessions with the State so far… and counting.

CWA members know that contract negotiations go as long as it takes to reach a quality final package. We know our members are eager to know more details, so please stay in touch with your Local for membership meeting dates and communications.

The CWA Bargaining Team cannot win the contract we need without your support. If we are unable to make sufficient progress at the bargaining table, we will be asking for your help in demonstrating to the State that we are united behind our demands for a fair contract.

CWA Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update (PDF)

CWA Members Rally for a Fair Contract

CWA state workers at HESAA, Stockton University, and other state worksites across NJ have been meeting up to show their solidarity as we negotiate a new contract with the state. Make sure your branch president or shop steward has your email address to stay up-to-date and informed about actions at your worksite\.

Bargaining Update – May 2, 2023

We would like to begin by thanking our CWA members who signed the bargaining petition highlighting the important demands we are fighting for at the negotiations table. On April 26, a delegation of more than 300 worksite leaders marched to the State House and delivered our bargaining petition to Governor Murphy. Those members chanted “Fair Contract Now” because that is what we are fighting for and what we deserve.

Our CWA Bargaining Committee has held nine bargaining sessions with the State since late February. On day one, CWA presented a full set of proposals – economic and non-economic – because we were ready to do the intense work needed to deliver this contract before June 30. Our demands are designed to meet the moment we are in – post-COVID, short-staffed, and ready to build a strong contract for the next several years.

Unfortunately, progress is moving slower than we would like. We delivered the petition directly to Governor Murphy and we will continue mobilizing and creating pressure to deliver the strong contract CWA State Workers need. We have made progress on Health and Safety and other non-economic issues. Other important priorities like Telework, Job Security, and Out-of-Title work have been on the table for months but are not yet resolved. Our strong proposal on compensation is still under review. We have several negotiations dates scheduled throughout May and our team is pressing to reach an agreement – that meets our demands – as soon as possible.

Member activism is how we win a good contract. Members organized bargaining surveys in their worksites, collected over 10,000 signers on the petition stating our priorities, gathered for solidarity actions at worksites throughout April, and just delivered our petition to the Governor. Our campaign is continuing in May with additional mobilization activities to keep our members involved in the bargaining process. Membership action shows the administration you stand with your Bargaining Committee and want a fair contract.

Support from every member is crucial to our collective success. We ask every member to continue to wear RED on Thursdays as a clear sign of solidarity.

When we fight, we win! Let’s keep up the fight!

In solidarity,

Dennis Trainor, District 1 Vice President
Bill Gallagher, Assistant to the Vice President
Fran Ehret, NJ Area Director
John Rose, President, CWA 1031
Mickey Santiago, President, CWA 1032
Gaye Palmer, President, CWA 1033
Adam Liebtag, President, CWA 1036
Ken McNamara President, CWA 1037
Shawn Ludwig, President, CWA 1038
Michele Long-Vickers President, CWA 1040