by Kevin Brown
32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director
As we begin 2016 and look forward to everything a new year can bring, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on what we, together, have achieved as a union in New Jersey throughout 2015.
32BJ commercial members in New Jersey bargained and ratified a new four-year contract with significant wage increases that maintains quality employer-paid benefits for 7,000 members. Importantly, we stopped a plan that would have had new employees paid at a lower rate.
Everyone knows 32BJ members never give up, and in New Jersey we fought and won more than a dozen fight backs! Fight backs typically involve contractors who displace or attempt to replace union workers with non-union workers so they can shortchange employees and pay them substandard wages.
Earned Sick Days bills were approved in Bloomfield, Elizabeth and New Brunswick. And Jersey City expanded its existing bill to allow more workers to earn paid time off if they’re sick or need to care for an ill loved one.
We played a pivotal role in gaining support for new municipal ID programs which were approved in Newark, Dover and Roselle. The programs offer identification cards to all residents, including undocumented residents so they can access city services and have proof of their residency.
All of these achievements were possible because so many of our members attended district meetings and participated in actions like Justice for Janitors Day and Labor Day marches and rallies. Let’s keep the momentum going in 2016. District meetings will be scheduled in February. We’ll send you details soon.
This will be a big year for 32BJ in New Jersey. We’ll be fighting for a new contract for security officers, the campaign for better wages and conditions for Newark’s airport workers continues (including an action on MLK Day – keep an eye out for details shortly), and we have important elections where we’ll be pounding the pavement to elect candidates who support working families.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe new year, and I look forward to working with you to deliver wins for all workers in 2016.