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

March 16, 2015

Lucia Guarini, Acting Division Director

Essex County Division of Welfare

18 Rector Street, Floor 9

Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance

Inappropriate Utilization of Clerks for Cherry Blossom Festival

Article I. Purpose

Article VII. Discipline

Article XXV. Non-Discrimination

Article XXX. Work Distribution & Practices

Dear Ms. Guarini:

CWA Local 1081 submits this Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance on behalf of several of our clerical members who were inappropriately utilized by the Administration last week to prepare prepaid postcards for mailing to selected members of the general public notifying them of the County of Essex’s Cherry Blossom Festival to be held on April 15, 2015, with its Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race, and on April 12, 2015 with its Cherry Blossom 10K Run.

These employees have more than enough work to do for the clients of the Essex County Division of Welfare’s Child Support Unit. Instead of filing clients’ case records and responding to the public’s telephone calls and visits to the office, five to six clerks were compelled to spend the entire day on Thursday, March 12, 2015 preparing the postcards. While the Cherry Blossom Festival is a worthy event, the employees of our chronically understaffed agency should not have been obliged to facilitate a County occasion that has no relation to their Civil Service job duties.

Additionally, tragically ironic is the fact that the Administration managed to find the funds with which to purchase the prepaid postage affixed to the postcards announcing the Cherry Blossom Festival events while the same administration appeared incapable (or unwilling) of finding the funds for the Division of Welfare in February, 2015 to obtain the prepaid postage with which to mail hundreds of public assistance recipients their notices of their requisite appointments for the annual redetermination of their personal circumstances that might well affect the amount of their grants or even their continued eligibility for their receipt of welfare.

Attached, please find two photographs taken today of each of the two of the most onerously impacted offices of the Essex County Division of Welfare due to unbelievable unconscionable understaffing of employees and the resultant daily deluge of clients languishing for hours to be serviced. The photograph marked number one depicts clients of the Downtown Citizen Services Center waiting on the stairwell to arrive at the seventh floor site. The stairwell in which they are standing is on the fifth floor with the line of clients having wended down two flights of stairs. The photograph marked number two depicts clients of the Westside Citizen Services Center waiting in the hallway of that office merely to enter the client waiting room area where there are at least chairs for them to sit upon.

The resolution CWA Local 1081 respectfully demands to this grievance consists of the Administration never again misusing any of our members to perform such mundane tasks as the preparation of prepaid postcards to be mailed to the general public announcing an event that has no relation to their Civil Service job duties and which are deleterious to the best interests of the most needy residents of the County of Essex.

We seek a hearing in this regard.


David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081