Posted Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Four more unions representing 232 Morris County civilian government employees have agreed to a 2011 wage freeze.

That means 14 of the 17 unions that fall under the umbrella of the Morris County government have approved a salary freeze for next year, and thus will avoid layoffs, said Morris County Administrator John Bonanni.

The four bargaining units that agreed Nov. 8 to the zero percent increase are all members of the Communications Workers of America that represent nurses at Morris View Healthcare Center, staff of the Office of Temporary Assistance and their supervisors and the dispatchers at the county’s Emergency Communication Center.

“These dedicated employees, represented by the Communication Workers of America, along with those who previously agreed to a wage freeze, are making a personal sacrifice at a most difficult time to help respond to current economic conditions,” Bonanni said. “Each of these staff members has placed the needs of all Morris County residents ahead of their own individual desires. With client case loads continuing to rise, our staff has clearly demonstrated that their primary goal is serving those in need. The freeholders and I truly respect the CWA’s understanding of the serious economic challenges that each of us face, and appreciate their willingness to work with us.”

Felicia Williams, representing the Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance, said her members “recognized the need to work with the county administration and make sacrifices on behalf of their families by way of a pay freeze for 2011.”

According to Williams, “Local 1040 members know that those nearing retirement will carry this as part of their pensions, and members’ families will be impacted by the uncontrolled increases in their own housing, utilities and taxes.” OTA staff has already demonstrated their commitment to the public by putting in long hours to serve those who may have felt the economic down turn through job loss, disability and housing related crisis, Williams said.

Office of Temporary Assistance sees on a daily basis the direct result of the changes in the economy in Morris County and the effects on families who have no control of these events, and OTA members continue to donate food, diapers, clothing and essentials for their clients, Williams said.

“The CWA members at Morris View, representing the nursing and social work professionals who care for the residents at the county’s long-term health care center, understand these hard times and are willing to do our part,” said Kathy McNeil, Morris View Nursing Supervisor and CWA President of Local 1040.

The 14 unions that have accepted a salary freeze represent 1,701 employees, or 88 percent of the workforce that falls under the umbrella of the Morris County government, Bonanni said.