CWA Update on NJ State budget $10B shortfall and negotiations to protect jobs

Dear State Worker Union Family,

We have heard from many members who are rightfully concerned about the State budget and how we will be impacted. If you have been a State Worker since 2009, you will remember that in response to the last economic “crash” we negotiated a Furlough/Wage Deferral/No Layoff Agreement with Governor Corzine. At that time, the State was facing a $2 billion shortfall. That Agreement included 10 days of furloughs, an 18-month deferral of the across the board raise, and enforceable job security for our members.

When Chris Christie was elected Governor, he was enraged about this Agreement because it made it impossible for him to layoff the 10,000 workers he said he would layoff during his campaign. That agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by members and, as it turns out, was indeed “Christie-proof” and protected members’ jobs.

The State is now facing a $10 billion shortfall – something much worse than the 2009 shortfall. In response, we have embarked upon negotiations with Governor Murphy to explore all available options to again protect as many jobs as possible. Layoffs would not only be disastrous for our membership and have additional drag on the state economy, but the public services provided by our membership are needed now more than ever. We know that a federal aid package and borrowing are both under discussion. The reality is furloughs and layoffs would not solve the budget shortfall – federal aid and careful borrowing are both needed.

We cannot, at this time, discuss these negotiations publicly or answer ANY questions about them. Like all negotiations, we will share information with members as much as possible, but we must be careful with our ongoing discussions. We know there are a lot of rumors and speculation because members are very concerned. What we can tell you is that our goal is to protect jobs at a time of great risk to public workers and public services and we will proceed as we always do, in a democratic way, with members ultimately deciding the course of action.
We are letting you know this now, so that you are not surprised if we ask you to support an Agreement that includes some things that are immediately a sacrifice, but that ultimately protect our jobs. We do not know if we will be successful in reaching such an agreement. The circumstances are much worse than after the 2008 economic crash. Today’s circumstances are more dire and present a greater threat to our members job security – but we are going to try to protect every one of our member’s jobs.
In Solidarity,

John Rose, President Local 1031
Ken McNamara, President Local 1037
Patrick Kavanagh, President Local 1032
Shawn Ludwig, President CWA Local 1038
Gaye Palmer, President Local 1033
Carolyn Wade, President Local 1040
Adam Liebtag, President CWA Local 1036