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

November 26, 2014

Frank Palmieri, ASFS

Office of Medicaid Services

Essex County Department of Citizen Services

18 Rector Street, Floor 10

Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Step I Class Action Contractual Grievance

Continued Unsafe and Unhealthy Stacking of Case File Banker Boxes

Article I. Purpose

Article VII. Discipline

Article XXV. Non-Discrimination

Article XLIX. Safety of Staff

Dear Mr. Palmieri:

CWA Local 1081 submits this Step I Class Action Contractual Grievance on behalf of our Union's members assigned to the Office of Medicaid Services (OMS) to protest the continued allowance by the Administration of Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo of the deplorably unsafe and unhealthy conditions that have long existed, and have continued to be exacerbated, by the County's failure to cease the stacking of case file banker boxes and raw case files upon nearly every surrounding surface of the OMS worksite as opposed to having them safely secured within a file room within file cabinets.

Attached, please note that our Union had grieved this matter last on May 14, 2014 to the then Department of Citizen Services Director Lucia Guarini and we await a an arbitration hearing per our attached arbitration request of June 4, 2014 written CWA Representative Alan Kaufman. Please note, as well, the attached four photographs that had accompanied all of our grievances leading up to, and including, our Step III Class Grievance of May 14, 2014 as well as our arbitration request of June 4, 2014. Those photographs are hand-numbered #1 through #4.

Attached, as well, are two photographs I took yesterday with our Union’s cell phone revealing that the situation has only been exacerbated by the lack of care and concern that the Administration has so callously continued to display for the past six months since first we grieved this disgraceful and dangerous display. They are hand-lettered A and B.

In addition to the physical dangers the presence of the slew of the strewn about case files represent to employees and clients alike, employees assigned to the OMS have understandably experienced considerable constraints accessing clients’ personal information from these files requisite to compete and maintain their clients’ active Medicaid status. This has resulted in the daily overflowing crowds of clients (men, women and children) within the OMS’ client waiting room which has caused lines of clients waiting hours within all type elements outside the building just in order to gain access to that waiting room. Many of the clients who do manage to get into the building and the OMS office wait hours to be serviced, if they are fortunate enough to get serviced at all. This is both inhumane and illegal.

The resolution to this grievance our Union ardently demands consists of the following:

  1. The County shall immediately employ, and deploy, many more employees within the OMS as well as the whole of the Essex County Division of Welfare.
  2. The County shall immediately dedicate the requisite resources to ensure that the closed case files that may be stored offsite are so stored.
  3. The County shall immediately ensure that the case files that may be shredded are so shredded and that the case files that must be maintained within the building are placed within real file cabinets, whether it be within the OMS or upon another floor within the privately-owned 18 Rector Street/10 Park Place building.

With the November 15, 2014 advent and further implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), AKA "Obamacare," and its resultant compassionately welcomed increase in Medicaid-eligible Essex County residents, the caseloads of the OMS shall only continue to burgeon and the above cited problems only continue to worsen unless CWA Local 1081’s resolutions to this grievance are promptly put into place by the County of Essex

We seek a hearing in this regard.


David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081