Labor leaders and rank-and file members from the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions, pro-labor state legislators and AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 members staged a picket line and rally outside SERV headquarters in Ewing on Thursday, August 26, 2021, to protest lack of progress in contract negotiations.
AFSCME, representing residential counselors and maintenance workers, is negotiating a first contract at SERV Mercer County, a behavioral health provider paid by the State of New Jersey.
Negotiations began in late July 2020 after the National Labor Relations Board’s May 2020 certification of AFSCME as the collective bargaining representative for these workers.
SERV Mercer County’s management has rejected basic proposals like establishing a labor-management health and safety committee that would ensure worker safety and common-sense wage proposals that would help recruit and retain workers at SERV, which has a high rate of staff turnover.
Attendees at the rally Thursday included New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney, president of Ironworkers Philadelphia and Vicinity District Council and financial secretary-treasurer of Local 399, State Sen. Linda R. Greenstein, and New Jersey Assemblymen Wayne P. DeAngelo, president and assistant business manager of IBEW 269, and Anthony Verrelli, a brother from Carpenters Local 254. Also supporting the AFSCME brothers and sisters were AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 Executive Director Steven M. Tully and New Jersey State AFL-CIO COPE Director John Shea III.