Contact: Rita Shade Simpson
Clerk of the Board/Administrator
Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
92 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079
Freeholder Director to Sign CWA Contract
Contact. Freeholder Dave Sparks 935-7510
July 30, 2001
SALEM - The Board of Chosen Freeholders said today it will sign the recently negotiated CWA contract when the union leadership incorporates agreed-to language into the master document.
"It is not fair to either employees or management to have a fuzzy document. We have been waiting since June 20,h for the Union to do what is standard practice -- to include language that clarifies the intent or application of certain benefits. The County has various letters from the union stipulating to the language, yet the union refuses to insert the words into the contract so everyone knows what was agreed to," explained Freeholder Director Dave Sparks.
"On June 20'h, the Freeholders took a good faith vote to approve the contract. At that time, Labor Counsel advised the union that final signature would not take place until the document reflected the total package negotiated."
Even though the contract is not signed, the Board authorized the County Treasurer to immediately begin upgrading the pay of employees. Employees received their newly-calculated wage rates on July 5. Retroactive payments will be issued as soon as Treasury completes its conversion to a different payroll data processing system.
The CWA called an abrupt halt to negotiations in lateJanuary and demanded mediation, which delayed a union ratification until May 15.
"This unnecessary delay lengthened the process and did not benefit County employees," said Sparks. -Union leadership knows that the package that was ultimately ratified was not significantly different that what was on the table during negotiations. Union leadership is now grandstanding to make it appear that somehow the County is at fault for the contract not being signed. This is simply not true."