As the bargaining agent for faculty, librarians, professional staff and adjunct faculty in two separate statewide bargaining units, each of which includes the seven State Universities and two State Colleges, the Council of New Jersey State College Locals - AFT - AFL-CIO represents you in all matters relating to terms and conditions of employment. The Council negotiates the agreements that define these terms and conditions, processes grievances, and will assist you with problems relating to your employment, whether or not you are a Union member.
The Council vigorously presents the views of the faculty, librarians, professional staff, and adjunct faculty in policy discussions with the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Governor's Office and the Legislature on your behalf.
The Council of New Jersey State College Locals (CNJSCL) maintains offices at 1435 Morris Avenue, Union, New Jersey 07083. The CNJSCL phone number is (908) 964-8476 and the FAX is 908-688-9330. The office, which is the Council's service center, is convenient to both the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. In addition to the Council office, each American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local Union maintains an office on each campus.
The Council maintains its own staff who assist unit members with grievances, handle arbitrations and help members resolve other employment-related problems. Much of the Council's day-to-day work involves responding to telephone inquiries from members of the bargaining unit. Scores of inquiries dealing with members' contractual rights, grievances and benefit matters such as pensions, health insurance, eyeglass discounts are answered each week. The Council office is also the focal point for inquiries and requests for information from state and federal agencies, the press, other AFT locals and labor organizations.
Informational material about the American Federation of Teachers and Council special benefit and discount plans is available from the Council office and online. The Council staff is augmented by the many professionals at AFT headquarters in Washington, D.C.
GRIEVANCES AND ARBITRATION
One of the Council's most important activities is the assistance it provides to locals and unit members with handling complaints, administrative appeals and grievances. The Council staff is responsible for the training and continuing education of grievance representatives on each campus. Council staff representatives handle arbitrations. They also assist members in making appeals to the Division of Civil Rights, Pension Boards and the State Health Benefits Commission.
The media attention and the heated pace of the finale of any labor-management contract negotiation do not reflect the year-round effort that goes into collective bargaining. Preparation for negotiations requires the gathering and analysis of all manner of economic data relevant to the bargaining of an agreement. The Council also seeks the opinion of individual members via a collective bargaining survey as part of each renegotiation of the agreements. The Council's bargaining team meets several times prior to the opening of negotiations to refine the demands of the members. In this way, demands reflect the needs and concerns of the faculty, professional staff, librarians and adjuncts who make up the Council's bargaining units.
LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL ACTION
To accomplish our public policy goals, the Council and its constituent locals maintain close relationships with a wide variety of organizations and coalitions. These include other State-employee unions, the Industrial Union Council, New Jersey Citizen Action, the AFL-CIO, and county central labor councils. The Council employs a consultant/lobbyist to assist in achieving legislative goals relating to the State Colleges and our working conditions.
SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES
The Council seeks to educate and share ideas with unit members either in statewide meetings or in local meetings on each campus. In the past, the Council has sponsored special conferences on the state budget, grievance handling, retirement, membership recruitment, job reclassification and contract preparation. In the case of pressing statewide issues such as budget cuts or retrenchment, the Council communicates with the membership by means of special publications and meetings to “get the word out” to the largest audience possible in the shortest possible time.
Unlike many unions, the Council utilizes its attorneys in an advisory capacity only, and does not rely upon its lawyers for decision-making and policy matters. Not only does the Council staff have more background and experience with the State-Union agreements than any lawyer would have, but it is also committed to train and guide union members to handle union problems. When complex legislation, court orders or legal research require expert opinion, the Council calls upon Kevin McGovern (Mets, Schiro & McGovern in Woodbridge). This attorney is familiar with the Council, its contracts and activities. His experience in education and public sector labor law is extensive and invaluable to the Council.
Elected delegates to the Council of New Jersey State College Locals meet four times a year to vote on pending matters and to discuss issues of concern to each of the eleven locals and the Council as a whole. Each Local Union has representation on the Council; the size of its delegation is based on membership strength. Sometimes delegations consist of elected union officers from a campus, but in many cases delegates are union activists who are not union officers but who have been chosen in delegate elections. The Council Officers consist of a President, two Vice-Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Legislative Representative and Representatives for Professional Staff and Librarians. The Council's Executive Committee, which is made up of all the Presidents of the Locals and Council officers, including the Legislative, Professional Staff, Librarian and Adjunct Faculty Representatives, meets to discuss the work of the Union between meetings of the Council.
The Council publishes The New Jersey Voice Of Higher Education Labor which circulates to faculty, staff, and adjunct faculty at the State Colleges/Universities, selected community colleges and numerous leaders in higher education. Special editions of the Voice are issued from time to time on such topics as new regulations, contract proposals and the State budget. To keep unit members up-to-date, the Council also issues flyers as developments occur. The Council is very concerned that important employment information reaches the general membership quickly.
Archival copies of each issue of the Voice are deposited with the Wisconsin State Historical Society labor collection and the Rutgers Labor Center library. The Voice is also available online in this web site.
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