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Welcome to the CWA Local 1032 website. CWA 1032
Local 1032 of the Communications Workers of America represents public and private sector workers in New Jersey and New York. We are here to share with you some information about our union and its members.

Patrick Kavanagh - Local 1032 President

CWA 1032

Posted: February 24th, 2015

Statement on the Pension Plan Decision and Governor Christie's Reply

Dear CWA Members,

Yesterday, Superior Court Judge Jacobson issued a decision ordering that the State of New Jersey must make it's 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​ want​s​ to work cooperatively while attacking and appealing a legal decision that upheld the law that ​he signed, knows no bounds.

CWA's position is:

1. 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.

2. 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 discussions 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 ​t​he Governor is clear: Obey the law - put the money in.

In Solidarity,

Hetty Rosenstein                Chris Shelton

NJ Director                          Vice President, CWA District 1

 

Posted: 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.

You can view the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woRTU5oz_cA

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.


 

Posted: Sept 16th, 2014

Sussex County Non-Supervisory Bargaining Unit

Ratification is scheduled for September 18, 2014

Click here to read the meeting Notice

Click here to read the letter from the bargaining Committee

Click here to read the Bargaining Report

 

Posted: Sept 8th, 2014

CWA Wins PLB Case!
2009 MOA Upheld Once Again

Click here to read a statement and the details of the decision

Click here to read the complete decision



 

It's "Shirk Week"
Check out CWA's latest ad on
Christie's Broken Pension Promise

 

 

Posted: June 26th, 2014

CWA-NJ Statement on Pension Lawsuit

June 25, 2014

Today Judge Jacobson made a ruling on our request for a preliminary injunction on our lawsuit about Governor Christie not making the legally required pension payment.

The Judge said:

1) She would not rule on what the Governor makes as a pension payment for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015) because the budget is not completed and it is premature to make a decision;

2) She was persuaded by the Union's argument that there is a contractual right to the pension payment and that not making the unfunded liability payment is a "impairment" of that contract. (This is a central and key component to our lawsuit. It means that the Judge agrees that the law - Chapter 78 - gives us a contractual right to have the pension paid. This is a critical decision in our favor.)

3) She believed, however, that the very unusual and specific circumstances of Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014) where at the very end of the Fiscal Year the budget was found to be extremely underfunded, it was reasonable in that specific circumstance for the Governor to not make the full payment. She made it clear that she was only speaking of Fiscal Year 2014.

4) She specifically said that she was not dismissing our complaint and that she is expecting us back in her court about Fiscal Year 2015.

We will continue to litigate this matter. We will go back into court when Christie vetoes the 2015 payment. We are preparing for a long fight to protect the pension plan. We also expect Christie to very shortly take direct aim at post-retirement medical.

We will fight to maintain our benefits and our standard of living. We will fight in court. We will fight in the Legislature. We will fight at the Worksite. We will fight in the Street. We will not back down.

In Solidarity,

Chris Shelton
District 1 Vice President

Hetty Rosenstein
New Jersey Director

Download this Statement in .pdf format


 

Posted: May 20th, 2014

CWA STATEMENT ON CHRISTIE BREAKING PENSION PAYMENT PROMISE

TRENTON, NJ) – This afternoon, Governor Chris Christie broke his latest promise. In dealing with a budget shortfall north of $800 million - of his own making - Christie declared that he is refusing to make pledged pension payments.

Below please find a statement from Communications Workers of America’s NJ State Director Hetty Rosenstein in response:

“Governor Christie said he fixed the state pension. He said our economy was the New Jersey Comeback, and he’d stop relying on one-shot gimmicks. He said record-breaking tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy would create jobs. After five years of Christie at the helm, it turns out every single thing he's promised has failed miserably - with a record sixth credit-downgrade by Wall Street to show for all his failures. It’s time Christie realizes what everyone else knows: cutting taxes for the super-wealthy, while stealing money from pensions hasn’t worked yet. And it wont work this time. At every turn, Governor Christie has chosen the path of economic instability, due to his wrong priorities and callous actions towards New Jersey’s working families. Since Christie is clearly unwilling to be a responsible actor, we call on the state legislature to step up and be the adults in the room.”

 

 

Posted:May 15th, 2014

CHRISTIE’S CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IGNORES CONSTITUTION & STATE LAW REGARDING PROMOTIONS PROCESS

Putting Patronage, Corruption, Nepotism & Political Abuse Ahead of Protecting Taxpayers & Good Government… Let Alone Following The Law

(TRENTON, NEW JERSEY) – This morning, the New Jersey Civil Service Commission (CSC) voted to enact sweeping changes to the promotional process for non-uniformed state workers. In doing so, the Christie administration is seeking to gut modest taxpayer protections from political patronage. These measures have not only been on the books for over a century, but are so vital to fairness in public service that they’re written into the state's Constitution. The changes also allow the Christie Administration to gut veterans’ preference in promotions for most positions in State Government.

Today’s regressive action comes in spite of a binding resolution passed by the State Legislature in January – which prohibited the Christie Administration from enacting the rules.  The CSC is not only ignoring the actions of the legislature, but also ignoring what is enshrined in the State Constitution, as well as what New Jersey Supreme Court says is the law of the land.

“It is inconceivable that the Christie Administration is granting itself permission to promote anyone it wants, while getting rid of oversight and objective standards for fairness,” said Seth Hahn, CWA Political and Legislative Director. “Their scheme blocks lanes of promotions for the deserving, while subjecting advancement to the whims of political pressure. This radical change is especially galling given all we know about what’s happened on Governor Christie’s watch in both various agencies around the state and his own office in the Statehouse. Today’s action has the potential to open the entirety of State Government to the abuse we’ve recently seen at the Port Authority.”  

The CSC’s arrogance and inability to follow the law would expose every single New Jerseyan to higher taxes due to corruption, cronyism, nepotism and patronage….if they were able to get their way  This would amount to a wholesale attack on working families, women, LGBT workers, disabled people and people of color.  Thankfully, the Christie Administration will not be able to get away with this, as the state constitution says you cannot write regulations contrary to the intent of the statute. And the New Jersey legislature has already agreed and passed two concurrent resolutions.

As passed, today’s proposal would allow the CSC to lump workers into “broad bands” of job titles - limiting valuable public oversight of which employees are performing specific tasks.  It would then replace promotions for workers based on objective qualifications and done based on a transparent and objective testing process with “advancement” through the employment “bands.”  The “advancement” would be done solely at the discretion of management. It would not be subject to minimum qualifications requirements or public oversight.  And it could allow politically-friendly workers to get ahead, at the expense of those who are deserving.

Furthermore, since the testing process is the only place that veterans’ preference exists in New Jersey Civil Service, it replaces a clear commitment to our state’s veterans with a “trust me” system.  Management would merely be directed to weigh veterans status in their own minds when making decisions about advancement.

Today’s action comes despite a binding legislative resolution that was passed in January that prohibits the Governor from adopting the proposal.  The legislature used a little-known provision of the State Constitution, enacted by voters in 1992, that allows the legislature to prohibit or invalidate regulations or rules proposed or enacted by the Executive.  The procedure required two votes of the legislature, and an open public hearing.

Not only is today’s adoption of the rule likely illegal, it most likely runs afoul of the State Constitution.  Article VII, Section 1, paragraph 2 requires that state promotions shall be made and veterans’ preference shall be protected by an open and competitive testing process, “as far as practable.”

This morning’s CSC vote comes despite widespread condemnation from Civil Rights organizations, veterans, people with disabilities, women’s organizations and public watchdogs. It also comes after more than a year of the Christie Administration refusing public input. Last year, they held a single public hearing in Trenton at 3 pm on a workday in the middle of the week – in a room that could only seat thirty people. Even worse, not a single Civil Service Commissioner attended this meeting to discuss 96 pages of new rules marking the most radical changes since the inception of civil service.  Since then, Christie’s Commission has steadfastly refused requests from thousands of people for additional hearings. They’ve stonewalled, even though previous Administrations – both Republicans and Democrats – have granted more hearings for changes far less sweeping.  The state legislature held two oversight hearings and requested someone from Civil Service attend.  Both times the invitations were denied.  

It’s no surprise the Christie Administration has failed to be transparent on this issue.  Because Christie’s latest scheme will create more patronage and corruption at all levels of government. It undermines promotions for the deserving and subjects promotions to the whims of political pressure. Simply put, Christie’s proposal hands power over to politicians and backroom players, at the expense of both good government and New Jersey’s taxpayers. However, their attempts to do so will be moribund as it is simply against the law to make these radical changes.

UPDATE

On May 14th, Senate President Steve Sweeney and  Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto sent a letter to Governor Christie and CSC Chair Robert Czech stating the Legislature's intenet to go into court to enforce its resolutions invalidating the rule.  Their letter makes clear that the Legislature views the adoption by CSC as illegal. CWA is also prepared to join any legal action if it comes to that. 

Click here to read the letter


UPDATE: May 26, 2014

The Legislature is still prepared to go into court to enforce the resolutions passed earlier this year, but they are doing another round of concurrent resolutions as an added precaution. To initiate that process, on Monday, May 19th, the Senate Budget Committee passed a resolution nullifying the job banding rule adopted by the Civil Service Commission. More updates will be provided as the resolution moves through the Legislature.

 

Posted: February 5th, 2013

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July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2015

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