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

July 1, 2008

Bruce Nigro, Director
Essex County Division of Welfare
18 Rector Street, Floor 9
Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance
Refusal to Hire and Deploy Sufficient Staffing/
Myopic Misuse of Taxpayers’ Funds, Et Al
Article I. Purpose
Article VII. Discipline
Article VIII. Salaries and Compensation
Article IX. Vacations
Article X. Sick Leave
Article XXV. Non-Discrimination
Article XLIX. Safety of Staff

Dear Mr. Nigro:

CWA Local 1081 submits this Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance on behalf of all of our members whom have been, and shall be, adversely affected by the County of Essex’s historic, and current, resolute refusal to hire a sufficient number of employees to conduct the business that is that of the Essex County Division of Welfare.

In addition to having wittingly not ever employed the 798 total number of agency employees required by the State of New Jersey, the County has apparently accepted approximately $2.5 million of State funding to administer the General Assistance (GA) population of the City of Newark while not allegedly applying those funds towards remunerating the additional staff needed to perform the innumerable and intricate supplementary obligations assuming the Newark GA population represents. Instead, the County has transferred senior employees on an alleged “part-time basis” from agency Intake and Child Support units to perform the Newark GA functions while ostensibly obtaining as much as sixty percent (60%) of their salaries and benefits from the Federal government.

To further exacerbate the agency’s vituperative exploits, the Essex County Division of Welfare presently enjoys a budgetary surplus of between $1.5 million to $2 million in addition to the abovementioned approximate $2.5 million in funding received from the State to administer the Newark GA program.

Merely some of the adverse affects the above cited activities promulgated by the County have, and shall have, upon the members of CWA Local 1081, their clients and the taxpayers’ local, state and federal legally required levies include:

Not hiring sufficient numbers of employees results in too few and qualitatively challenged services provided our clients, particularly the children, the elderly and the infirmed.
Not hiring sufficient numbers of employees allows the Administration to artificially balance the County’s budget upon the uniformly beleaguered backs of the members of CWA Local 1081 and their clients.
Not hiring sufficient numbers of employees allows the Administration to opportunity to utilize funding from sundry sources for purposes other than which initially intended.
Not hiring sufficient numbers of employees allows the Administration to pay overtime to agency employees, thus costing more than had the County acted fiscally responsibly originally.
Not hiring sufficient numbers of employees allows the Administration to violate our Union’s contractual articles regarding seniority, overtime assignments, vacation assignments, sick time utilization, the unwarranted disciplining of our members and placing them unnecessarily in harms way due to the County’s failure to properly plan requisite security measures, particularly within its own owned 50 South Clinton Street, East Orange site.

The resolution CWA Local 1081 respectfully demands to this grievance consists of the following:

The County shall fast-track the hiring of a sufficient number of employees to attain, and maintain, a total number of at least 840 as soon as is humanly possible.
The County shall properly apply all funding sources received as they had been originally intended, and designated, and not hoard an inflated surplus when justified spending needs exist.
The County shall redeploy our members, bivouacked to the Newark GA program, to their former assignments immediately.
The County shall offer overtime to our members in strict accordance with the tenets of our Union’s contract.
The County shall ensure sufficient security is provided all of its sites, in part by hiring the services of officers of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department.

We seek a hearing, in this regard.


David H. Weiner, President, CWA Local 1081