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

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Sent: 1/14/2016 11:19:03 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: CWA 1081/Management Joint Professional and Clerical Health and Safety Meeting

1/15/16 CWA 1081/Management Joint Professional and Clerical Health and Safety Meeting Agenda


1. Absurd Absence of Functioning Public Address Systems: The new phone systems installed within the 18 Rector Street offices do not correlate with their intercom systems, creating a very dangerous situation in the case of notifying employees and clients alike of the need for emergency evacuations and are inefficient as employees can’t be notified by management regarding clients and agency work. 2) We must have reasonably regular emergency evacuation drills.

2. Lack of Adequate Security & Procedures: 1) The two Sheriff’s officers assigned to 18 Rector Street have to move out of their shared booth in the Westside office and be deployed within the Westside office and the TRO client waiting rooms as well as periodically tour all of the building’s offices to serve as a deterrent to the serious verbal and physical incidents that have occurred between clients-on-employees and clients-on-clients. 2) Resolution #13 of last evening’s Freeholder Board’s meeting of a $220,000 amortization arrangement with landlord Miles Berger’s organization is good in that he will remodel the first floor of the Military Park office for more client space and accommodate another set of magnetometers and x-ray machines and set up the building’s basement for filing purposes. Our Union is concerned about the County’s plan to set up computer kiosks within the first floor reception area so clients may apply online for benefits. 3) A system has to be devised, and revived and strengthened, of not rewarding verbally and physically abusive clients so that they are not allowed to be serviced the same day they act up (which other clients have witnessed and emulated) and that they are flagged with each reception booth within each office so that when they do return for services they are interviewed by an FSW with a security guard and/or the FSW’s supervisor present overseeing the interview so the offending clients realize they are being closely watched. 4) The process of allowing employees to take separate elevators in the morning must be continued and maintained so that the employees are not competing with the clients to get to the offices first or the clients won’t be serviced timely and the employees will be late for work; 5) We need the 10 Park Place entrance private landlord’s guard to check for peoples’ ID’s as well as placing a magnetometer and x-ray there as well; 6) We need new agency ID cards to be issued to its employees that are up to date.

3. Fire Prevention and Emergency Exit Plans: Note the content of our Union’s December 24, 2015 Step III Class Action Contractual Grievance: 1) The Emergency Marshalls’ system has to be reprised and revised as there have been so many wholesale transfers of the personnel and retirees who used to be charged with that serious responsibility; 2) The County-owned 50 South Clinton Street, East Orange building is ill-designed for safe evacuations, as the exits are too few and too narrow with many broken stair treads, the elevators are slow and often inoperable and you have so many disparate entities housed there, including welfare on the first and third floors, the DOL on the second floor, the DEDTE on the third and fourth floors and management and the tax office on the fifth floor which is a coordination issue; 3) We need the Sheriff’s office to provide Division of Welfare the same program it provided the Leroy Smith building recently on how to react to the type gun assaults and murders that have occurred all too frequently within our nation. 3) When emergency evacuations occur, the County needs to arrange with the 18 Rector Street landlord to provide employees shelter within his hotel or within the Newark YMCA building where I’ve had assurances from its Executive Director that we may use that site in which to temporarily house displaced employees and clients (I’ve represented our Union on the Y’s Board of Directors for the past twenty-plus years). The gas leak last year within the winter outside 18 Rector Street is a perfect example of the need for such a plan; 4) The Newark Fire Department must be summoned to perform another evaluation of the legal capacities of our agency’s client waiting room, have them posted conspicuously per the law and ensure they are monitored and enforced.

4. Health Benefits: CWA Local 1081 has two pending arbitration cases regarding Aetna that the County refuses to settle: 1) Illegal increases of prescription prices in 2014 and 2) A unilateral County Administration, and its health benefits broker Conner Strong and Buckelew, change to the Usual and Customary formula for out of network medical costs which will double those costs for all County employees and retirees.

5. Parking Lots: The lots in which 18 Rector Street employees park their personal vehicles (especially the Fulton Street lot(s)) must be better secured and maintained by the landlord. 1) We have had a member of our Union car stolen recently and the employees car was totaled costing her financially and emotionally; 2) There have been incidents of the Fulton Street lot’s lifts not functioning, one car last year falling and crushing another car of our Union’s members and one car falling out of the lift because the attendant left the stick shift in neutral without engaging the handbrake; 3) The 50 South Clinton Street lot must have snowfall “removed”, as per the vendor’s contract, and not merely pushed up against the lot’s perimeters causing the loss of some sixty-five spaces for many days; 4) Better accommodations have to be provided disabled employees such as our female wheelchair-bound member suffering from Cerebral Palsy having to park far from the rear entrance, not be allowed to have her co-workers swipe in for her because she can’t readily rise up out of her chair to do so herself and have ceased other silly office management’s rules imposed upon her.

6. Rodents: Diligence must be maintained to battle the present of mice within both 18 Rector Street and 50 South Clinton Street and management has to stop solely laying the blame at the feet of employees allegedly leaving foodstuffs within their desks sans the protection of hard plastic or metal containers. The moving of cases and case banker boxes in which the rodents dwell and eat, as well as the cold weather, are primarily to blame for their presence.

7. Hall of Records: The recent pipe breakage which spewed hot water over the rear of room 107 did not include the replacement of the already filthy carpets but only their finally being shampooed. Our agency needs to replace rugs with either rug tiles or regular tiles so as to facilitate cleaning and replacement within all of the offices.

8. New Palm-Recognition Swipe Machines: Department of Citizen Services Director Anibal Ramos assured both CWA Local 1081 and PESU during the presentation by the software company representatives of the new attendance machines that are coming that hand sanitizers will be deployed next to each machine. Contrary to the software company’s representatives assertions that the palm recognition machines’ glass surfaces are impregnated with an aluminum substance that kills germs, the glass mere attacks live organisms left upon the machines’ surfaces but does not kill most germs, as cold and flu. One machine must be deployed upon each offices floor so that employees needn’t travel to another floor to “swipe” in and out.

9. Broken/Missing Desk Locks: While we are basically pleased with Director Page-Hawkins response to our Union’s Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance protesting many of our members not having locked desk drawers in which to place their personal belongings (especially female employees with their pocketbooks), all broken and missing desk locks must be repaired.

10. Management’s Denial of Providing a Two-Week Notice of an Employee’s Involuntary Time Change: Such affected employees need the time to make alternate arrangements for such important personal matters as child care, elder care and dropping off and picking up their children and/or grandchildren to and from their schools.

11. Fifth Floor Management and Assignment Changes: PESU president and soon to be former Westside manager Carol Perkins needs the agency’s management to provide her the personnel (such as her preferred two assistant managers) and other accommodations now that that floor will be assigned additional emergency assistance duties and case banking duties. This is a health and safety matter for CWA Local 1081 members involving physical and emotional stress and very likely adverse client reactions to delayed services.

12. Clients Having to Wait Online on Rector Street to Get In: While the County has a laudable Code Blue set of procedures in place for the homeless to keep warm in the winter weather with warming centers throughout the County, such as Codey Arena, churches, firehouses, etc., our agency’s clients have to wait within all types of weather elements to enter both the 18 Rector Street and 50 South Clinton Street sites. This is both inhumane and facilitates angry clients becoming unruly if not physically violent.

13. Possible Asbestos and Mold with 50 South Clinton Street: Our Union recently sent an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to the County inquiring about the possible presence of asbestos within that site.

14. Work Practices Meetings: Our Union recently filed a Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance to protest Director Page Hawkins’ refusal to abide by our Union’s contract(s) and convene periodic Work Practices Committee meetings which are necessary to review and correct agency processes which may adversely contribute to health and safety issues.

15. Meeting to Discuss Approximately Eighty (80) Pending Arbitration Cases: A meeting between CWA Local 1081, Director Page-Hawkins and her designee(s), Assistant County Counsel Robin Magrath must be very soon held in order to attempt to resolve a number of them. Many of these grievances have caused our applicable adversely affected members both emotional and/or physical stress.

16. Management’s Emailed Notifications to CWA Local 1081: They must be sent to and not my employee agency email account.

17. We are Peers: When Director Page-Hawkins and other County management representatives interact with me as president of CWA Local 1081, I am not acting as an employee but instead I am minimally their titular peer. Therefore, the scheduling of meetings and other interactions must be mutually agreed upon and not based merely upon the whimsy and convenience of management. 2) Confidential Assistant Kecia Burnett has been quoted at a managers meeting held yesterday as purportedly stating, “The Unions must stop this stuff and get on board”. If accurate, such ignorant, irresponsible, inflammatory and ill-advised statements will only precipitate CWA Local 1081’s furthering, and enhancing, our historically strident efforts on behalf of our Union’s members and their clients, oft times on our own and oft times in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters represented by PESU. I possess a BA degree in Black Studies from 1974, and a Masters degree in Elementary Education from 1980, from the esteemed and well respected Seton Hall University (having attended elementary school at Newark’s Dayton Street School and Mount Vernon School) and not a degree from a computer college in Orlando Florida (whose address is a P.O. Box) that is not recognized by the federal government and still teaches its students that the world is only 6,000 years old rather than its actual age of 4.5 billion years old. My education, combined with my thirty-eight years as an Essex County Division of Welfare employee, my thirty-six years as the president of CWA Local 1081, my God-given talents, my parents’ guidance, my very hard work and my proven track record of concern for the well being of our agency’s employees and clients alike (as well as that of all of Essex County’s urban communities) will not countenance my Union activities and decisions to be questioned by anyone not even remotely as well-qualified as I.