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Message from the Treasurer

Dear Adjunct Faculty,


As this calendar year is passing us by, the Officers of the Essex County Chapter want to inform you of 3 insurance programs we are bringing to you, as Full Members, at no additional charge.


1. New Members Only—$12,000 of Term Life and AD&D at no cost for one year!

New AFT members are entitled to ...

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One of the most vital functions of a Union is to prevent management from intimidating employees.  Nowhere is this more important than in closed-door meetings when supervisors attempt to coerce employees into a confession of wrongdoing.


The right of employees to have the presence of union representatives during investigatory interviews was announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 in NLRB vs. J. Weingarten, Inc.  Since that case involved a clerk being investigated by the Weingarten Company, these rights have become known as the Weingarten rights.


Unions should encourage workers to assert their Weingarten rights.  The presence of a union representative can help in many ways.  For example:


v     They can help a fearful or inarticulate employee explain what happened.

v     They can raise extenuating factors.

v     They can advise an employee against blindly denying everything, thereby giving the appearance of dishonesty and guilt. 

v     They can help prevent an employee from making fatal admissions.

v     They can stop an employee from losing his or her temper, and perhaps getting fired for insubordination.

v     They can serve as a witness to prevent supervisors from giving a false account of the conversation.




Employees have Weingarten rights only during investigatory interviews.  An investigatory interview occurs when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information that could be used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct.  If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from what he or she says, the employee has a right to request union representation.  Investigatory interviews usually relate to subjects such as:


v     absenteeism

v     accidents

v     damage to company property

v     drinking 

v     drugs

v     falsification of records

v     fighting

v     insubordination

v     lateness

v     poor attitude

v     sabotage

v     theft

v     violation of safety rules

v     work performance


If an employee has determined that disciplinary action may result from the investigatory interview, a simple statement such as:


“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at the meeting.  Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”


would be enough to enforce their federally protected rights.





Under the Supreme Court’s Weingarten decision, when an investigatory interview occurs, the following rules apply:


RULE 1:   The employee must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview.  The employee cannot be punished for making this request.


RULE 2:   After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose from among three options.  The employer must either:


  1. Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative 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:


1.      having the interview without representation; or

2.      ending the interview.


RULE 3:   If the employer denies a request for union representation, and continues to ask questions, they have committed an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer.  The employer may not discipline the employee for such a refusal.





While every grievance begins as a complaint, all complaints do not become grievances.  In order to know what complaints can be processed as grievances, you will need to refer to the collective bargaining agreement between Essex County College and the Essex County College Adjunct Faculty Federation  for the definition of a grievance.  (You can access the Agreement on this website).  As you will see in Article III., Section H., of the contract, a grievance can arise from a violation, misinterpretation or improper application of the collective bargaining agreement or a rule or policy of the College which affects the terms and working conditions of employment.

The purpose of the grievance procedure is to provide for the speedy, orderly and equitable resolution of disputes.

Inherent in the grievance procedure is the remedy sought which must be identified in order to make the grievant whole.  In selecting an appropriate remedy, it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of the remedy is restoration not retribution.  The remedy should be consistent with the collective bargaining agreement in order to protect the integrity of the contract.

If you feel that the conditions for a grievance have been met, please do the following:

  1. Carefully document all facts including dates and times pertaining to the grievance.
  2. Contact Lynne P. Cummins at or or (973) 856-0767.

Remember that there is a big difference between a gripe and a grievance.  A grievance is a formal challenge to the employer that the contract or College policy has not been followed.

    Fortunately, most problems can be settled informally without filing paperwork.  But it is imperative that you contact the local leadership as soon as possible when you feel you have a grievance.  There are strict timelines for the filing process, and they start the minute the violation takes place.



    Dear Adjunct Faculty, 

    There is a sense of pride and respect in the air at Essex County College. Through your forethought and encouragement, your Executive Board persevered and after 13 long months of meetings and strategy sessions, we were able to convince the college officers that we were entitled to be recognized and appreciated. There is probably no better way to be shown an employers appreciation for the hard work we do than with a raise – and a significant one at that. 

    This is the first of what will be a turning point for us at Essex and for adjuncts across the state. It was wonderful meeting many of you at ratification meetings and your kind words and support helped buoy us even more. 

    As your treasurer, I assure you we will abide by all recognized and approved accounting procedures to ensure your dues money supports our goals and objectives.  

    We need one thing from you; we need for you to sign up as a full member. This will give you all the rights and privileges due a full member. Should you not sign up, as a closed shop, you will still be paying dues, but your privileges are not as encompassing. I think the difference is about $5.00 per term. Do yourself a favor so that we can continue to support you. 

    Once again, thank you. 

    Mark Brodsky 



    The results of the recently held election of ECCAFF local officers are listed below:

                President:  Lynne P. Cummins

                Vice President:  John L. Smith

                Treasurer:  Mark Brodsky

    Thanks to all those adjunct faculty members who voted in the election.  Your support is appreciated.