A Message to CWA Members from CWA’s NJ Elected Leaders:
On March 3rd, 2021, CWA’s New Jersey elected leaders met with Governor Murphy to review his record and determine our endorsement for his re-election.
At the beginning of the meeting, Vice President Trainor reviewed the commitments that Governor Murphy made to CWA when he was first a candidate for Governor. He highlighted positive results on three main commitments:
- Murphy would make the required pension payment – which no governor in either party has done in a quarter-century.
- Murphy would fairly negotiate contracts that addressed the cost of healthcare.
- Murphy would protect good union jobs in New Jersey.
March 26, 2018: Murphy to state’s largest union: ‘era of disrespect’ is over (Atlantic City Press)May 1, 2018: Murphy gives 35,000 state workers 2% raise plus backpay(NJ 101.5)March 7, 2019: NJ state workers to receive raises under $120M deal reached with Gov. Phil Murphy (NorthJersey.com)
Governor Phil Murphy addressed our group of Local Presidents and Local Legislative-Political Action Chairs, representing 25 Local unions and over 55,000 New Jersey members primarily employed by the State of New Jersey, County and Local Government, and Verizon Communications and AT&T mobility. We shared an open question and answer period before taking a vote.
Our discussion with Governor Murphy was broad, and free-ranging. We touched upon many topics, including: shared services, the American Rescue Plan being debated in Congress, the joint effort that resulted in the Millionaires Tax, paid family leave, the challenges of frontline work during the pandemic, the difficult and appreciated sacrifices of the last budget, in which some CWA members deferred wage increases and took furloughs in exchange for job security throughout the pandemic, the joint commitments to tackling racial disparities, and promoting good union jobs.
No subject took center-stage as much as Governor Murphy’s recent proposal to make a full payment to the pension fund for the first time in 25 years.
Kathy Cooley, a 30-year State Worker who chairs CWA Local 1033’s Legislative-Political Action Committee, pointed out that making the full payment has been CWA’s number one priority for more than two decades. Governor Murphy agreed that if the payment had been made when CWA first lobbied for it, this year’s payment would cost $800 million, instead of $6.4 billion. The cost of this falls squarely on those politicians – from both parties – who made the terrible financial decision of refusing to fund the pension in past years.
February 22nd, 2021: New Jersey Governor to Propose Full Pension Payment for First Time Since 1996(Wall Street Journal)February 23rd, 2021: NJ to fully fund pension for first time in decades(NJ BIZ)August 26, 2020: $4.9B public-worker pension payment in budget is not negotiable, Murphy says(NJ.com)
The Motion to endorse the Governor was made by Shawn Ludwig, President CWA Local 1038.
“This man, he has given us hope,” said Carolyn Wade, president of CWA Local 1040, representing over 8,000 of frontline workers in the Developmental Centers, Psychiatric Hospitals, Veterans Homes, long term care and Correctional facilities. “We’ve seen things happened we never dreamed would happen. We never dreamed we would finally get full funding of the pension. We are extremely grateful. Did we get everything that we wanted from him. No. He is not the Governor of CWA. He is the Governor of New Jersey and he is the best Governor in my remembrance. It is with pleasure that I speak in favor of this motion.”
“I have negotiated with CEOs and Governors for more than forty years,” said Vice President of District 1 Dennis Trainor. “As a CEO, as a boss, he’s good. He’s fair and he works with us. But as a Governor, he is great. He’s accomplished more for working people in New Jersey in three years than anyone else in the country. CWA is proud to endorse him and we are going to work like heck to make sure he is reelected.”
The motion was called and CWA called the roll: Local 1000 – Aye, Local 1014 – Aye, Local 1031 – Aye . . . Aye . . . Aye . . . Aye. . . Aye. . . it was unanimous! Murphy/Oliver for Re-election!
Local Presidents supporting the re-election of Governor Murphy:Amy Lafferty, Local 1000; Garren Steiner, Local 1014; John Rose, Local 1031; Mickey Santiago, Local 1032; Gaye Palmer, Local 1033; Adam Liebtag, Local 1036; Ken McNamara, Local 1037; Shawn Ludwig, Local 1038; Carolyn C. Wade, Local 1040; Kathleen Lordo, Local 1045; Bennie Brantley, Local 1077; Kevin Tauro, President of Local 1075; Jeff Miletta, Local 1078; David Weiner, Local 1081; Jon Worley, Local 1084; Mike Blaszczyk, Local 1085; Joanne McWilliams, Local 1087; Don Doka, Local 1088; Delores Phillips, Local 1089.
Some Additional Highlights From Our Meeting with Governor Murphy:
John Rose, President of CWA Local 1031, representing over 4,000 workers employed in libraries and State Colleges throughout New Jersey, thanked Governor Murphy for the State’s vaccine response, with over 2 million shots already dispensed at the time of the meeting. Governor Murphy pointed out that the first 1 million took 55 days to get out…but the second 1 million were out in just 22 days. Governor Murphy specifically pointed to the work CWA is doing to expand vaccines to more frontline workforce. Governor Murphy also praised President Biden and shared the good news that “everyone will be able to get a vaccine by May.”
Kathleen Hernandez, Executive Vice President of Local 1031, spoke of increased funding in this year’s budget for University Hospital, New Jersey’s only public hospital in the State. She also brought up the need to keep colleges and universities funded and fully staffed despite the toll the pandemic is taking. Governor Murphy shared this commitment to our colleges and universities.
Several Local leaders discussed the inequality in the collective bargaining rights afforded civilian State and Local Government workers when compared with school employees and law enforcement. Governor Murphy reiterated his commitment to collective bargaining – pointing to the better outcomes of negotiating over healthcare and job security.
Governor Murphy committed to the bargaining table as the mechanism for moving labor relations forward. Governor Murphy acknowledged the need to legislate change in this area, and agreed that he’d support such change.
More from YOUR Local Presidents:
“Through these most troubling times, Governor Murphy has stood up for unions and for workers. He has never lost sight of what is important,” said Mickey Santiago, President of CWA Local 1032, which represents thousands of State employees in the Departments of Transportation and Community Affairs as well as thousands of county and municipal workers and workers employed by the Port Authority.
“The Governor cares about our clients, and he cares about our families,” said Delores Philips, President of CWA Local 1089, representing workers employed by the Bergen County Board of Social Services. “I am so proud to support him and Lieutenant Governor Oliver for reelection.”
“We represent frontline field workers,” said Ken McNamara, President of CWA Local 1037, which represents more than 10,000 workers employed throughout the State. “The Governor has been a Leader throughout the pandemic. He demands and expects a lot from our dedicated members who serve and have sacrificed so much, but in exchange he stands with us to protect our jobs, our rights, and our benefits. Chris Christie abused and insulted our members. This Governor negotiates and makes a partnership with us. As a result, our members give their all to the public they serve, and are loyal to him.”