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

August 23, 2013

Lucia Guarini, Director
Essex County Department of Citizen Services
18 Rector Street, Floor 9
Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Step III Class Action Contractual Grievance
Political Activities Prohibition
Article I. Purpose
Article VII. Discipline
Article IV. Work Schedules and Overtime
Article XXV. Non-Discrimination
Article XLIX. Safety of Staff
Chapter VI-15. Political Activities Prohibition

Dear Ms. Guarini:

CWA Local 1081 submits this Step III Class Action Contractual Grievance on behalf of all of our Union's members whom are regularly requested to attend what are, and/or may easily be construed as, political activities held during workday hours by the Administration of the County of Essex.

The above cited and attached Chapter VI-15. Political Activities Prohibition classification of the County of Essex Human Resources Policies and Procedures manual asserts the following:


2. Under no circumstances shall the political activity or lack thereof of any
County employee be viewed as job related.
3. Each employee has the right to participate in the political process. Such
participation shall be on the individual's own time and away from the premises
when there (sic) governmental responsibilities are executed.


3. Any employee whose County employment is in connection with a program
financed in whole or in part by Federal Funds or Loans, is subject to the rules
and regulations of the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C. 101 et seq.) which prohibits public
employees from using official authority or influence that interferes with or
affects the political action of any employee and from participating during
working in the political process.

Director Yvonne Davis' attached Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance rejoinder of August 8, 2013 is unacceptable to CWA Local 1081. While within her grievance response Ms. Davis asserts "This issue was arbitrated before and the agreement was that CWA Local 1081 members would not be compelled to attend political activities or press conferences." at the Work Practices Committee meeting of August 8, 2013 (which included members of CWA Local 1081 and PESU) Ms. Davis asserted the Division of Welfare would not longer inform the agency's employees of the above cited political activities or press conferences.

The practical deleterious affects of the Administration persistently pressuring members of CWA Local 1081 (and other County employees) to attend politically motivated mid-workday events as such cultural heritage celebrations as African American History Month, Irish Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, Italian Heritage Month, Jewish Heritage Month, Latin Heritage Month, LGBTQ Pride Month and tomorrow Portuguese Heritage Month are disruptive to the delivery of services to the residents of the County and statutorily and contractually prohibited. While our Union appreciates that the County's "year-long series of cultural events pays tribute to our community’s diversity – a beautiful mosaic of people that makes Essex County such a special place", such celebrations should rely upon a voluntary general public to support them and not compelled or even invited County employees conveyed from their offices during the course of their workday.

Even more statutorily and contractually prohibited are press conferences, also held within the middle of the workday, announcing such political proceedings as the grand openings of exhibits at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, the County's vocational schools and senior citizens' complexes where often a slew of elected political figures are present, if not anointed as the guests of honor. These self-serving soirees violate as well the abovementioned tenets of our Union's contract with the County of Essex and the above cited Chapter VI-15. Political Activities Prohibition classification of the County of Essex Human Resources Policies and Procedures manual.

Additionally, due to a chronic and long standing deliberately designed deficiency of adequate numbers of staff with which to service the clients of the Essex County Division of Welfare, the absence of employees from that agency in order to be utilized as a backdrop for the Administration's political proclivities is contrary to morality as well as to the rule of law.

Therefore, the resolution CWA Local 1081 respectfully reiterates to this contract consists of the Administration of the County of Essex ceasing and desisting misusing our Union's members for proscribed political purposes and to cease even compelling them to, informing them of, or allowing them to attend political activities or press conferences conducted by the executive and legislative branches of the government of the County of Essex during the workday, whether they be held respectively or jointly by those branches of government.

We seek a hearing in this regard.


David H. Weiner, President
CWA Local 1081