Some of the state’s top political leaders, including Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney, joined the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) New Jersey Council 63 at a hour-day unfair labor practice strike at the Mercer County office of SERVE on Monday.
SERV is a New Jersey-based private, non-profit behavioral health company. AFSCME represents more than 40 residential counselors and maintenance staff at their Ewing facility. The protestors claim that staff at the Ewing facility is lower than others SERV offices in the state.
“It’s unthinkable that an organization like SERV that receives millions of dollars from the state of New Jersey will not treat its employees equitably with a good first contract,” New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech said. “These essential workers are caring for people who are going through difficult periods in their lives, and they deserve to be compensated fairly.”
In addition to Murphy and Sweeney, the AFSCME protestors included State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence) and Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) and Anthony Verrelli (D-Hopewell).
According to AFSCME, negotiations began in July 2020 and have dragged on for more than a year with no progress.
Among the board members of SERV were Christine Grant, whos served as New Jersey Commissioner of Health under Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.