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

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Newark Teachers Union

New Jersey Citizen Action Oil Group

May 22, 2009


Anibal Ramos, Director

Essex County Department of Citizen Services

18 Rector Street, Floor 9

Newark, NJ, 07102


Re: Step III Class Action Contractual Grievance

       Importunate Exploitation of Members as Event Extras

       Article I. Purpose

       Article VI. Management Rights

       Article VII. Discipline

       Article XXV. Non-Discrimination

       Article XXX. Work Distribution and Practices

       Article XLII. Extent of County Liability

       Article XLIX. Safety of Staff


Dear Mr. Ramos:


CWA Local 1081 submits this Step III Contractual Grievance on behalf of all of our Union’s members whom have been, retrospectively, have been recently and/or shall be, prospectively, offered or obliged to attend events conceived and coordinated by the Administration of Essex County Joseph DiVincenzo that occur during, and/or after, our members’ contractually stipulated working hours. Director Nigro’s attached Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance denunciation rejoinder of May 18, 2009 is unacceptable to our Union’s adversely affected members as well as to CWA Local 1081.


As per the attached missive written Mr. DiVincenzo of May 1, 2009, entitled “OPRA Request, Administration’s Emails, Ceaseless Self-Serving Soirees”, CWA Local 1081 had requested the County provide our Union “Copies of all emails sent Department and Division directors of the County of Essex, and/or their designees, by your Administration encouraging they arrange for their respective titular subordinate employees of the County of Essex to attend” a possible total of no fewer than twenty-eight (28) events the Administration held, each in an excess of at least one hour in duration, to which a sundry segment of employees of the County of Essex were requested to attend primarily, if not exclusively, during working hours.


Based upon the attached email messages sent by the Administration in response to our abovementioned OPRA request, CWA Local 1081 endorses anew our estimation that it imprudent, insensible and fraught with farcical fiduciary form for the Administration to continue to impress (the transitive verb) into duty County employees, particularly the highly-compensated heads of departments and divisions and well as the rank and file employees whose workloads are onerous particularly now, to literally serve as “extras” to make it appear as though the crowds attending budget announcements and events to honor groups and/or individuals are voluntarily well endowed.


Evidentiary attestation to support CWA Local 1081’s contention, in this regard of utmost import, exists particularly within the guise of two respective emails sent by the Administration to department and division directors urging the latter provide “Extra, Extra, Extra, Extra, Extra Staff” to the County Executive’s State of the County on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 and one sent stating the need to send “Extra, Extra, Extra Staff” to the African American History Month Celebration on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 which reportedly ran from 11:15 am to approximately 1:30 pm.


As CWA Local 1081 stated within our above cited missive of May 1, 2009 written Mr. DiVincenzo regarding our OPRA request:

As you will please recall, the February 22, 2009 article below published by the Star Ledger reported CWA Local 1081 having filed a grievance “charging that its staffers have been ‘obliged’ to participate in ‘self- serving soirees’ to make it appear that the (your) press conferences and other events command wide interest”. Your quoted response within the article was “’It's just so silly. I do all of my press conferences at twelve noon. It's all voluntary,’ DiVincenzo said. ‘They're not being forced to be here. It's during their lunch time.’”

However, and our Union avows this with all due respect, the fact is that not one of your abovementioned events consumed less than one hour. Inasmuch as the members of CWA Local 1081 have only a one-half hour contractually stipulated lunch break, as is the case with many of our other Brother and Sister County employees, those employees attending your celebratory confabs were afforded time off from their jobs not afforded their counterparts. In the case of such County agencies as the Division of Welfare, the Hospital Center, the Youth House and the County Jail the length of time spent by those employee attendees assigned to those County facilities at your events may be readily confirmed by reviewing their respective time clock records. Unfortunately, the time clock records of your staff assigned to the Hall of Records and of those of numerous other County employees assigned to the County-owned 50 South Clinton Street, East Orange building (other than our Union’s members assigned there) may not be so confirmed due to the fact your administration has elected inequitably to either not install, or not activate, time clocks at those sites.



The resolution CWA Local 1081 respectfully re-reiterates to this second iteration of this type grievance consists of the following:


  1. The County shall cease requiring, and/or requesting, members of CWA Local 1081 to attend such Administratively self serving soirees and thus allow our understaffed, underpaid and underappreciated Brothers and Sisters the time they need to attempt to optimally service their clients in these most trying of times.
  2. The County shall cease requiring, and/or requesting, members of all other County Unions to attend such Administratively self serving soirees and thus allow their understaffed, underpaid and underappreciated Brothers and Sisters the time they need to attempt to optimally service their clients in these most trying of times.


We seek a hearing, in this regard.






David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081