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

June 6, 2013

Yvonne Davis, Director
Essex County Division of Welfare
18 Rector Street, Floor 9
Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance
Overcrowded Offices & Compromised Safety of Clients & Staff
Article I. Purpose
Article VII. Discipline
Article XXV. Non-Discrimination
Article XLIX. Safety of Staff

Dear Ms. Davis:

CWA Local 1081 submits this Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance, on behalf of our members assigned to the County-owned 50 South Clinton Street, East Orange building, and the privately-owned 18 Rector Street/10 Park Place, Newark structure, to protest the ever increasing overcrowding of the offices of the Essex County Division of Welfare.

Attached, please find thee photographs taken yesterday of clients on line outside the County-owned 50 South Clinton Street, East Orange building as well as one photograph of clients crammed into the Food Stamp Citizen Services Center client waiting room located therein. Both the Food Stamp Office and the new Riverview Office have been reportedly closed at approximately 10:00 am each day since Monday, June 3rd, due to the overcrowding and clients' unrequited requirements for services.

Please note the variety of human beings being compelled to queue outside the 50 South Clinton Street site, entirely exposed to the elements, for many hours: men, women and children of broad diversity. As an unknown number of them may well have been visiting the "Essex County One-Stop Career Center" for services other than, or in addition to, those afforded them by the Food Stamp Office such as those provided by the New Jersey Department of Labor on the second floor and/or the Essex County Department of Economic Development, Training and Development on the third floor. Ergo, residents of Essex County other than clients of the Division of Welfare are also being adversely affected. And the State pays a considerable sum in the guise of rent to the County for the privilege of such ill treatment of its clients and employees.

The following represent simply some of the causative factors spawning the abovementioned intolerable conditions suffered by clients and employees alike:

  1. The lack of a sufficient number of staff maintained within the Division of Welfare, this despite a dubious deal existent since 1999 and 2000 whereby the State Department of Human Services each year "loans" the Division of Welfare the same $15 million which some fourteen years ago was improperly diverted from the Division of Welfare (intended for TANF staffing) only to be despicably deposited within the County's coffers to satiate partisan political expediency. Those then members of the County's legislature, now ensconced within its executive branch, attempted to stop the scheme neither at its inception nor for the past nearly decade and a half it has continued.

  2. The implementation last month of a dysfunctional "Case Banking" system within the Food Stamp Office, as managerially foisted upon our members and their clients, which has resulted in scores of clients having their cases closed.

  3. The creation by the County of a pernicious predicament for our members assigned to the Riverview Office by the former's failure to ensure the placement of a copy machine, a fax machine and boxes for the retention of clients' reception slips before the newly-minted office was this past Monday first fully opened for business.

The resolution CWA Local 1081 discernibly demands to this grievance consists of the County promptly meeting with our Union, along with our counterparts within the Public Employees Supervisors Union, in order to discuss the disquieting dilemmas delineated herein and attempt to rapidly resolve them.


David H. Weiner, President
CWA Local 1081