Skip to main content

Contract Oversight is $1.25 Million Payoff

This is a lesson about the importance in closely reading your contract. After an employee of Hudson County (New Jersey) went to her union to express concern about her low pay, her union took it up with the county. Now District 1199J, NUHHCE/AFSCME, and the county have reached a $1.25 million settlement that means many workers will get annual step raises ranging from $1,000 to $9,000, plus retroactive pay, that they should have gotten under their 2005 collective bargaining agreement.
Contract Oversight is $1.25 Million Payoff
By Kevin Zapf Hanes ·
Contract Oversight is $1.25 Million Payoff

District 1199J, NUHHCE/AFSCME, representing 500 Hudson County (New Jersey) Service and Maintenance workers, reached a settlement with the county that will mean big increases in many paychecks.

The $1.25 million settlement resulted from language in the 2005 collective bargaining agreement that guaranteed minimum step increases for entry level employees, providing a bump in pay for 216 members. When the contract was drafted the new minimum step increases were not reflected in the pay rate charts, an oversight that meant many workers were unaware they were due a raise.

Annual pay increases from $1,000 to $9,000 began in August. Retroactive pay from 2011 will be paid in two installments, in December 2015 and later in 2016.

“When I received the call from an 82-year-old member, who I had worked with as her staff representative years ago, she expressed her concern about her low pay,” said Susan M. Cleary, president of District 1199J, NUHHCE/AFSCME. “She couldn’t identify why she felt she was underpaid given her over 30 years of service. So, I looked into it.

“Once we discovered the oversight and began to understand the true impact it would have on the membership, we notified the county and immediately started to negotiate a resolution,” Cleary said.

Part of the settlement includes payments to two deceased members’ estates. District 1199J continues to push for the inclusion of retirees in the settlement. The union will not withdraw its arbitration on this issue until all workers are made whole.

The settlement represents an important win for Hudson County employees, but reminds us about the importance of reading and understanding our contracts.

“These hard-working women and men deserve what is due them and the county is keeping up their end of the bargain,” concluded Cleary.

Related Posts