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

April 28, 2008

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

Re: Step III Class Action Contractual Grievance
Case Records within Downtown & Westside Lunchrooms
Article I. Purpose
Article XXV. Non-Discrimination
Article XLIX. Safety of Staff

Dear Mr. Ramos:

CWA Local 1081 submits this Step III Class Action Grievance, on behalf of our applicable aversely affected members, to protest the fact that a slew of clients’ case records are being stored respectively upon lunch tables within the Downtown and Westside offices’ lunchrooms. This inexcusable circumstance represents inequitable treatment of our affected members and is violative of the confidentiality of the clients whose cases are being so stored.

Director Nigro’s attached Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance denial response of April 15, 2008 is unacceptable for the following rational reasons:

While Mr. Nigro asserts, “Please note that we are not storing cases within the lunch rooms but are working to interfile closed cases prior to sending them to offsite storage. This is being done to free up space and make the work environment safer”, regardless of the alleged actions currently being taken with the prospective goal of sending the cases to offsite storage they are being stored within the lunchrooms, in the interim, and thus are causing problems for our applicable members and concurrently compromise clients’ confidentiality
Wile Mr. Nigro’s rejoinder maintains our Union’s designation of the two offices’ lunchrooms as such is incorrect because they are both “multi-purpose” rooms “designed to be utilized for many reasons including meetings as well as special projects and not solely for” lunch rooms, our adversely affected members have from the start correctly considered the lunchrooms as just that, what with the rooms’ lunch tables, sinks, cabinets and other kitchen-like accoutrements. Inasmuch as Mr. Nigro has proscribed employees eating at their work desks, it is only logical that employees of the agency consider their office’s “lunch room” primarily, if not exclusively, that.
CWA Local 1081 takes only minor umbrage with Mr. Nigro’s trifling taunt, directed towards me, that “It would be nice if you were more familiar with the overall operations of the agency to understand how we function”. Not only are our Union and I consummately cognizant of the myriad myopic managerial machinations menacing the Division of Welfare, but CWA Local 1081 oft cogently cites these machinations within numerous venues and with significant success.
While our Union is only too aware the agency has “other multi-purpose rooms that employees can access in the building for purposes of taking their lunch period in a quiet area and if their immediate room is occupy (sic) for a reason than they should feel free to check on the other flors.. (sic)”, our members have a mere thirty (30) minutes with which to launch an unassisted probe of the existence of “the other flors..” with perhaps even less time that that due to the County’s intractable insistence on utilizing an unsound automated attendance system which requires our members to utilize a manual attendance system as well.
While Mr. Nigro is technically truthful when he acrimoniously avers “there is no contractual requirement to provide lunch rooms for the employees”, CWA Local 1081 respectfully reminds the Director of the time tested legal precedent of “past practice” when he feels compelled to spout so speciously about a subject so serious. Our Union sagely suggests Mr. Nigro read carefully the abovementioned Article XLIX. Safety of Staff of our contract with the County which stipulates “Safety and health is a concern to the County and the Union. The County and Union mutually recognize the need for a work environment in which safe operations can be achieved in accomplishing all phases of work and the need to promote better understanding and acceptance of the principles of safety and health on the part of all employees to provide for their own safety and the general public.” Employees relaxing mid-work day by consuming their lunch in a relatively restful environment has been proven scientifically to be of paramount import to their success performing their appointed work tasks. Being engulfed within piles of errant case records, and sometimes surrounded by a diasporas of dejected clients seated amongst them, both situations precipitated by management’s poor planning, is not a conducive condition.

The demand CWA Local 1081 reiterates as requisite to resolve to this grievance is for the cited case records to be immediately stored properly within the Downtown and Westside offices’ record rooms, or within some other apposite setting. We seek a hearing, in this regard.


David H. Weiner, President
CWA Local 1081