CWA Local 1081
60 Park Place, Suite 501
Newark, NJ, 07102
Office (973) 623-1081
Fax: (732) 988-1081

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September 16, 2008

Bruce Nigro, Director

Essex County Division of Welfare

18 Rector Street, Floor 9

Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Agency Interactive Voice Response Committee

Dear Mr. Nigro:

CWA Local 1081 is in receipt of your attached memorandum of September 10, 2008, written all Administrative Supervisors and entitled “Establishment of An Agency Interactive Voice Response Committee”, in which you report that the Essex County Division of Welfare is “presently engaged in discussions with a couple of telephone service providers to establish an interactive voice response (IVR) system in the agency” which will “enable applicants and recipients to receive various items of information regarding case status, benefit status, service location, etc. without having to actually speak with an agency staff member”.

While CWA Local 1081 appreciates your assertion that “Such a system will ensure that calls are answered when made and will relieve the volume of calls requiring a real time response from a staff member”, our Union’s many years of researching such programs have revealed governments need particularly employ caution when considering them. For example, for your edification, we have attached an article of July 31, 2008, entitled “Rollout of Indiana Welfare Changes Halted”. While we understand the IVR system you are contemplating is not nearly as extensive an undertaking as the Indiana pilot, we are certain you can comprehend our prescient proclivity for prudence pertaining to privatization and any of its potential precursors.

In order to facilitate further the obliging Labor/Management relations our Union and you have for so long enjoyed, to the betterment of the well being of the agency’s employees and clients alike, CWA Local 1081 respectfully requests you appoint me as our Union’s representative to the Agency Interactive Voice Response Committee.

We thank you, in advance, for your anticipated kind cooperation with this sincere supplication.

Yours truly,

David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081