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

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New Jersey Citizen Action Oil Group

November 14, 2008

Linda Bass, ASFS
Food Stamp Citizen Services Center
Essex County Division of Welfare
50 South Clinton Street, Floor 1
East Orange, NJ, 07102

Re: Step I Class Action Contractual Grievance
Requisite Requirement of Physician’s Certificate
Article I. Purpose
Article VII. Discipline
Article X. Sick Leave
Article XVI. Pay Practices
Human Resources Policies and Procedures

Dear Ms. Bass:

CWA Local 1081 submits this Step I Class Action Contractual Grievance on behalf of all of our members assigned to the Food Stamp office to protest that, at a meeting you held yesterday morn with your office’s managers and supervisors, you directed all assembled that due to the huge crowds of clients your office had experienced that day and your anticipation those crowds might well repeat or worsen in the ensuing weeks the supervisors were to inform those they oversee that any sick days taken during this period will require the provision to the agency of a physician’s certificate.

Article X. Sick Leave of CWA Local 1081’s contract with the County of Essex stipulates:

2. A physician’s certificate may be required where duration of illness is five (5) consecutive working days or more for a single period, and in other situations provided for under the Rules and Regulations issued by the New Jersey Department of Personnel.

The Rules and Regulations issued by the New Jersey Department of Personnel, as well as the County’s own Human Resources Policies and Procedures, only allow the appointing authority to automatically require a doctor’s certificate from an employee were they to utilize fewer than five sick days for a single period if that employee has exhibited a clear past pattern of having abused such sick time utilization.

It is not the responsibility of our adversely affected members for the huge crowds encircling 50 South Clinton Street, for those crowds are due to a combination of too few employees assigned to that function, the County’s assumption of the City of Newark’s General Assistance caseload and the myopic decision made by the prior County Administration to have the County purchase 50 South Clinton Street, a purchase our Union publicly opposed from its inception.

In fact, a number of CWA Local 1081’s members were yesterday managerially mandated to interview clients outside, in the rain, as the latter waited in that long line to be seen with those members risking their physical health and well being in the process.

The resolution CWA Local 1081 respectfully demands to this grievance is for you to retract your directive and ensure each of our affected members are evaluated on a case by case bases, were they to utilize a sick day during your designated time period, utilizing their respective work history regarding their past utilization of sick time.

We seek a hearing, in this regard.


David H. Weiner, President
CWA Local 1081

C: Bruce Nigro
Yvonne Davis
Lynn Buckley
Tom Spillane