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NJ Public Workers Blanket State, Speak Out Against Anti-Worker "Toolkit"

As legislators consider Chris Christie’s anti-worker “Toolkit” to reform public jobs in New Jersey, CWA members are putting on a full-court press. Last Wednesday, public workers from four CWA Locals met with Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt in Voorhees, to discuss concerns with the proposed legislation. CWA told Lampitt not to place artificial caps on collective bargaining, and not to dismantle the worker protections in Civil Service in New Jersey.  “Civil Service is designed to provide fairness to workers,” said Michael Gewurtz, a shop steward from CWA Local 1040 who attended the meeting. “In the long run, you have people that will work harder and are being treated fairly, and that’s the framework of Civil Service and what it is designed to do.” 

 On Monday, more than two dozen CWAers were in Trenton for a State Senate hearing. Several “Toolkit” bills were considered, including proposals that would remove workers’ rights to a Civil Service appeal for any discipline up to a 30-day suspension, and another that would allow management to get around seniority in the event of layoffs by declaring some workers “more essential” than others. Several mayors also testified about their ideas to “reform” Civil Service. “They wanted to do away with Civil Service, allowing municipalities to opt out, and fire people—whoever they wanted to—and protect political friends and relatives while getting rid of anybody else without any type of rules,” said Chris Estevez, a CWA Local 1037 Staff Representative who was there to keep an eye on the committee. Gewurtz summed it all up: “We need support from the Democrats and Republicans. We need them to see that to get state workers to perform to the best of their abilities, they need to be treated fairly and without restrictions in bargaining.”