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 28, 2008

Bruce Nigro, Director

Essex County Division of Welfare

18 Rector Street, Floor 9

Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Step II Class Action Contractual Grievance

Dangerous & Discomforting Food Stamp Office Conditions

Article I. Purpose

Article VII. Discipline

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 assigned to work within the Food Stamp Citizen Services Center to protest the following unacceptable physical plant conditions too long existing within that County-owned site:

1. One of the restrooms located directly across from AASFS Carol Perkins’ office has a lock that is inoperable, thus causing considerable consternation for any employee utilizing the facility upon whom a co-worker may walk in upon as the worker initially utilizing the facility performs their personal ablution.
2. The other restroom located directly across from AASFS Carol Perkins’ office has demonstrably dimmed fluorescent lights that render the use of that facility uncomfortable if not downright dangerous.
3. The carpeting within the Food Stamp office is old, filthy and in places unraveling and thus represents a serious tripping hazard for our members and their clients alike.

Our Union notes an article recently published within the Star Ledger in which it was reported, “Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who has embarked on a $150 million plan to renovate Essex County's parks, thinks Booker is doing the right thing. DiVincenzo said his efforts have brought him good will in the community. "This is what the people can see. This is what they care about," DiVincenzo said. "The economy the way it is, people can't afford to go away so we have to make their backyards nice," he said.

With all due respect to Mr. DiVincenzo, the first floor of the County-owned 50 South Clinton Street, East Orange building is what our members and their clients daily “see” and in large part “what they care about”. While our Union has long admired most of his ample accomplishments, our members deserve at least as much attention and some of the amount of resources as have been expended upon, and dedicated to, Joe D’s beloved parks and zoo. After all, with “The economy the way it is”, and with our members seemingly forever fervently laboring with a dearth of an adequate number of staff and under the abovementioned conditions they do so without yet being allowed to settle upon a successor contract so that they may “afford to go away” were that their desire or, at the very least, afford “to make their backyards nice”. The provision of a fair contract, sufficient staffing of our agency and decent working conditions would go a long way to enhance the “good will” of CWA Local 1081 and our members toward the Administration.

The resolution CWA Local 1081 respectfully demands to this grievance is for the County to expeditiously ensure the above cited physical plant deficiencies are readily remedied.

We seek a hearing, in this regard.


David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081