Union for NJ workers agrees to furloughs to avoid layoffs

The Communications Workers of America, a union representing more than 40,000 state workers in New Jersey, has reached an agreement with the state regarding concessions in order to avoid layoffs because of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State workers who are part of the union will forgo raises and agree to furloughs. as part of the agreement, which is tentative and still must be ratified by members.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented economic reality for our state and nation, one that has created unexpected challenges for workers at all levels,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Tuesday about the agreement. “I thank the Communications Workers of America for coming to the table to negotiate how we can address this current reality while ensuring that as many New Jerseyans as possible remain gainfully employed during this trying time.”

Murphy said the agreement includes furloughs in lieu of layoffs, and that the furloughs are designed to limit the loss of wages for employees while providing the state with substantial cost savings. He said the agreement defers planned cost of living adjustments on wages as another cost-saving measure.

“I have always believed that negotiating in good faith with our workforce and bringing people to the table leads to the best outcomes for the state, our workers, and our taxpayers,” Murphy said. “Today’s announcement is a testament to that approach, and I thank these New Jerseyans for working with us as we continue to face this ongoing health crisis.”