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About Us


The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, is the nation’s largest union of public employees, with over 1.6 million members. AFSCME Council 73 New Jersey is one of the 65 district councils that are affiliated with AFSCME International. Council 73′s 10,000 affiliated members work for cities, counties, the state, the private sector and other local levels of government.

In the AFSCME structure, local unions join together in Councils so that their Council can provide professional representation, administrative services, research, education, training, and International resources to their members. Council 73 was chartered by the International Union in 1971 to provide services to Local AFSCME Unions in central New Jersey. Since then the Council has grown to represent more then 10,000 public and private sector workers in 66 Local Unions.

In addition to Council 73, there are 3 other AFSCME Councils in New Jersey: Council 52 represents members in North Jersey; Council 71 represents members in South Jersey; Council 1 is responsible for negotiating the contract that covers State employees in the health care and rehabilitation services unit, as well as handling grievances and disciplinary cases for these members once they go beyond the institutional level. Councils 73, 52 and 71 handle grievance and disciplinary cases for these members at the institutional level.

 

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About Us


The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, is the nation’s largest union of public employees, with over 1.6 million members. AFSCME Council 73 New Jersey is one of the 65 district councils that are affiliated with AFSCME International. Council 73′s 10,000 affiliated members work for cities, counties, the state, the private sector and other local levels of government.

In the AFSCME structure, local unions join together in Councils so that their Council can provide professional representation, administrative services, research, education, training, and International resources to their members. Council 73 was chartered by the International Union in 1971 to provide services to Local AFSCME Unions in central New Jersey. Since then the Council has grown to represent more then 10,000 public and private sector workers in 66 Local Unions.

In addition to Council 73, there are 3 other AFSCME Councils in New Jersey: Council 52 represents members in North Jersey; Council 71 represents members in South Jersey; Council 1 is responsible for negotiating the contract that covers State employees in the health care and rehabilitation services unit, as well as handling grievances and disciplinary cases for these members once they go beyond the institutional level. Councils 73, 52 and 71 handle grievance and disciplinary cases for these members at the institutional level.

 

members have a voice  at all 3 levels of the Union:


Local

Each AFSCME Local is a self-governing unit. Each has its own constitution, elects its own officers, and determines its own policies. Members of each Local select their own negotiating committee, and vote to accept or reject proposed contracts.


Council

Council 73′s Officers and Executive Board members are public or private sector employees who hold full-time jobs in addition to their duties at the Council. Delegates representing every local in the Council elect the Officers every four years at Council 73′s convention. The convention also sets the Council’s policies and priorities for the coming year.


National

Delegates to AFSCME’s International Union convention elect AFSCME’s International President, Secretary-Treasurer, and regional Vice-Presidents every 4 years. International Convention Delegates, representing Local Unions, also determine the policies and programs for the International Union.

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Services


Council 73 members can utilize a wide variety of services developed specifically to meet the needs of employees in both the public and private sectors. The Local Union, the International Union, and Council 73 work together to provide AFSCME members with excellent representation.

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Services


Council 73 members can utilize a wide variety of services developed specifically to meet the needs of employees in both the public and private sectors. The Local Union, the International Union, and Council 73 work together to provide AFSCME members with excellent representation.

Local union officers and stewards

These local leaders, elected by their co-workers, provide the day-to-day representation on the job and the direction for the Local Union that AFSCME members rely on.

Council Representatives

Council 73′s professional Staff Representatives work directly with Local Union leaders assisting with grievances, disciplines and arbitrations. Staff Representatives help Local negotiating committees draft contract proposals, serving as chief negotiator, work with the Local Union on administrative questions and problems, represent the rights of the Union and individual AFSCME members before the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (which enforces the laws governing labor/management relations for New Jersey public employees), the National Labor Relations Board (which enforces the laws governing labor/management relations for New Jersey private sector employees), and help in many other ways to provide quality representation.

Legal services

Council 73 utilizes Weissman & Mintz LLC, a firm that specializes in labor law. Steve and the attorneys in his firm are available to the Council to assist in enforcing AFSCME contracts as well as employee and union rights.

Research

AFSCME’s research capabilities are an important asset for AFSCME members in negotiations, arbitrations, and many other areas. Council 73′s staff works in conjunction with the International Research Department to provide wage and benefit comparisons, and sample contract language from the International’s databank of all contracts nationwide. The International’s labor economists provide budget analysis and other useful information for AFSCME negotiators.

Educational programs

AFSCME’s Executive Director works with the Rutgers University Union Leadership Academy and the International Union to develop and run training programs for Council 73 Officers and members on subjects such as: local leadership development, the role of the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), duty of fair representation, grievance handling, negotiating skills, contract language interpretation, and other topics requested by Local Unions.

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Legislative


AFSCME Council 73 works with our Legislative Consultant and the Public Employee Committee of the New Jersey AFL-CIO to develop an extensive legislative program to safeguard the interests of public and non-profit employees. AFSCME’s Council 73′s Legislative Program, in conjunction with the membership, has been instrumental in winning many key victories for our members over the years.

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Legislative


AFSCME Council 73 works with our Legislative Consultant and the Public Employee Committee of the New Jersey AFL-CIO to develop an extensive legislative program to safeguard the interests of public and non-profit employees. AFSCME’s Council 73′s Legislative Program, in conjunction with the membership, has been instrumental in winning many key victories for our members over the years.

Collective Bargaining

Thanks to AFSCME’s efforts, New Jersey has one of the strongest and most comprehensive public employee collective bargaining law in the country.

Health & Safety Protections

AFSCME’s efforts led to passage of a law giving New Jersey public employees the right to a safe and healthy workplace and the right to know about dangerous workplace substances. 

Political Action

AFSCME Council 73 and its members work hard to elect legislators and executives who recognize their responsibility to the working families of New Jersey -  especially those that work in the public sector.

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Weingarten Rights


Almost thirty years ago a counter clerk who worked for a J. Weingarten store in Houston TX was questioned by her Employer for alleged theft. Although she was cleared in the investigation, she had been denied after several requests the presence of her Shop Steward during questioning.

The Union representing her filed an Unfair Labor Practice and in 1975 the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Union’s favor. An important new right for workers emerged from this decision: An employee may be represented by the Union at an investigatory interview with his/her employer when the employee reasonably believes that the interview may lead to disciplinary action. The new rules became known as Weingarten Rights.

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Weingarten Rights


Almost thirty years ago a counter clerk who worked for a J. Weingarten store in Houston TX was questioned by her Employer for alleged theft. Although she was cleared in the investigation, she had been denied after several requests the presence of her Shop Steward during questioning.

The Union representing her filed an Unfair Labor Practice and in 1975 the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Union’s favor. An important new right for workers emerged from this decision: An employee may be represented by the Union at an investigatory interview with his/her employer when the employee reasonably believes that the interview may lead to disciplinary action. The new rules became known as Weingarten Rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Can I have a Shop Steward present at any meeting I have with Management?

No, only when you have a reasonable belief that discipline will result from an investigatory meeting.

What is an investigatory interview?

An investigatory interview occurs when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct.

Is Management obligated to remind me of my Weingarten rights prior to an investigatory meeting?

No, you must request a Steward’s presence. Management has no obligation to remind you of your rights.

What if I’m told to be in my Supervisor’s office at 10am but I do not know the nature of the meeting?

You have the right to know beforehand what the subject of the discussion will be. And you have the right to consult (caucus) with your Steward before and during the meeting.

What if a routine work meeting is taking place between my Supervisor and me, but the nature of the meeting suddenly changes?

You have the right to stop the meeting and call in a Steward at any point you believe you are being asked questions which could result in discipline. You cannot be punished for requesting a Steward’s presence.

If I request a Steward, does the Employer have to comply?

The Employer must choose from among three options:

  1. Grant the request and delay questioning until the Steward arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee; or
  2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
  3. Give the employee a choice of having the interview without representation.

What is the role of a Steward in an investigatory meeting?

  1. When a Steward arrives, the Supervisor must inform him/her of the subject matter of the interview, i.e. the type of action/misconduct for which discipline is being considered.
  2. The Steward must be allowed a private pre-interview conference before the questioning begins.
  3. The Steward must be allowed to speak during the interview.
  4. The Steward can give advice on how the employee should answer questions.

What if a Supervisor denies my request for a Steward?

If you are denied a steward’s presence and are still asked questions, the Employer commits an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The supervisor cannot discipline the employee for such a refusal.

 

KNOW AND EXERCISE YOUR WEINGARTEN RIGHTS