Making collective bargaining illegal in New Jersey

Democrat Steve Sweeney and Republican Jennifer Beck (smell a deal in the making) are the co-prime sponsors of a bill that sets out a schedule of healthcare contributions that all public workers will make.

The issue is not about the schedule of payments.  The issue is that once such a schedule is legislated, in New Jersey, it becomes ILLEGAL to collectively bargain anything else.

It is a back door to making collective bargaining illegal.

CWA and other unions are ready to negotiate over healthcare and everything else.  We have been ready to go to the table for months.  The Governor has now – only finally given us “tentative” bargaining dates for March.

We have always been willing to negotiate and try to figure out how to save services, jobs, and protect workers fairly.  We saved the state hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars in our 2007 contract with Corzine and later again with our MOA that provided for furlough days and a wage freeze in exchange for solid job security.

There is no good reason for the Legislature to pass the Sweeney-Beck bill except that it will cripple collective bargaining in this State.

It must be stopped.

keep reading to find out how…

Over the next 3 weeks we will be working on getting pledges from Democratic legislators that they will not interfere with collective bargaining.

We will hold enormous Lobby Days.

We will be on the picket line.

And we will do whatever is necessary to protect the life and breath of unions in this State: collective bargaining.

It has been so heartening to see the progressive movement come out in force to support us.  I hope we see our Democratic law makers standing with us and the Wisconsin 14 and do the same.  

Comments (13)

  1. joeynovick

    Such legislation could be challenged in NJ SC, of course as constructively violating Article I Section 19 of the NJ Constitution,

    19.  Persons in private employment shall have the right to organize and bargain collectively. Persons in public employment shall have the right to organize, present to and make known to the State, or any of its political subdivisions or agencies, their grievances and proposals through representatives of their own choosing.

    It is one of the Rights and Privileges enumerated.

    But I would not put it past Republicans to try and repeal Article I Section 19.  

  2. 12mileseastofTrenton

    This is a backdoor effort to legislate out bargaining over health costs (and pensions) by statute.  It doesn’t preclude future negotiations, as a future legislature could change the statute, but it certainly makes it more difficult.

    But I’m sure that’s the furtherst thing from Steve Sweeney’s mind.  Good union man that he is.

  3. firstamend07

    It has been reported that negotiations for a new state worker contract will begin on March 11.

    Having just checked the Legislative calendar S2718 will not have a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee before March 11.

    So what is the big problem????

    CWA and Ms.Rosenstein simply have to begin negotiations on the Health Plan Reform as their first agenda item. Inform the Governors bargaining team that they would like to negotiate in good faith on this issue.

    Make a request that S2718 be amended to reflect the final outcome of the negotiated settlement. This way the Legislature gets their law and CWA gets their negotiations.

    Will CWA make the pledge to support a final legislative bill that will make the health plan reform negotiated settlement a law?

    If they agree to that then my hunch would be that the current version of S2718 will not be voted on during negotiations.  

  4. firstamend07

    Unless I am mistaken CWA gave the Legislature the right to not fund any negotiated settlement and in effect has allowed them to supercede collective bargaining for years.

    The reading of Article 41 clearly gives the legisalture the ” power of the purse” .

    It also gladly states that if the legislature “improves” wages and fringe benefits then the employee should get those improvements.  

    Maybe I am wrong. Here is the exact wording of Article 41 in the CWA/State Contract.  

    ARTICLE 41


    A. Legislative Action

    1. If any provisions of this Agreement require legislative action, or require adoption or modification of the rules and regulations of the Department of Personnel to become effective, or require the appropriation of funds for their implementation, it is hereby understood and agreed that such provisions shall become effective only after the necessary legislative action or rule modification is enacted, and that the parties shall jointly seek the enactment of such legislative action or rule modification.

    2. In the event that legislation becomes effective during the term of this Agreement, which has the effect of improving the wages and fringe benefits otherwise available to eligible employees in this unit, this Agreement shall not be construed as a limitation on their eligibility for such improvements

  5. firstamend07

    Here is the Senate budget committee;

    can CWA get 7 to vote against S2718

    New Jersey Legislature Committees and Membership

    2010-2011 Legislative Session  



    Budget and Appropriations

    Standing Reference

    View Schedule

    (Group 2)  

    Sarlo, Paul A. – Chair    

    Stack, Brian P. – Vice-Chair    

    Beach, James    

    Bucco, Anthony R.    

    Buono, Barbara    

    Cunningham, Sandra B.    

    Doherty, Michael J.    

    Greenstein, Linda R.    

    O’Toole, Kevin J.    

    Oroho, Steven V.    

    Pennacchio, Joseph    

    Ruiz, M. Teresa    

    Van Drew, Jeff    



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