Franceline Ehret has the difficult task of replacing Hetty Rosenstein as the New Jersey state director of the Communications Workers of America and the leader of a union that represents about 40.000 state workers and over 70,000 New Jersey families.
The union announced today that Ehret, a longtime CWA official and a Democratic State Committeewoman from Middlesex County, will succeed Rosenstein.
The venerable Rosenstein, who has become the doyenne of the New Jersey labor movement, announced last month that she would retire at the end of March.
“For the last 14 years, Hetty Rosenstein has played an indispensable role in everything that District 1 does in New Jersey,” said CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor. “But there is no one with better collective bargaining skills, stronger political instincts or who reflects CWA’s values more than Fran Ehret. Hetty has left big shoes to fill, but I am confident that Fran Ehret will do an outstanding job.”
Ehret has served as a national staff representative for the CWA for the last eight years. Before that, she was the president of the Turnpike Workers Union, IFPTE Local 194. In that post, she led the opposition to bids by Governors Jon Corzine and Christ Christie to privatize the New Jersey Turnpike.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have two strong, fearless, visionary union leaders as mentors in my life: my father and Hetty Rosenstein,” said Ehret. “I grew up in a union household, where we never passed a picket line we didn’t join.”
Her father was the legendary Frank Forst, a former Jamesburg mayor, Turnpike employees union leader and AFL-CIO state vice president. Forst sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 1973 and U.S. Senate in 1982.
“I’ve grown so much at CWA, a union that involves members in every issue that impacts working people. I’ve watched Hetty strategize various campaigns, talking through bargaining roadblocks and working with her on organizing initiatives,” Ehret said. “We have a tremendous staff at our District office, and I look forward to meeting the challenges ahead together with them and our awesome locals.”
Trainor pledged a smooth transition.
“We will not miss a day of aggressive representation of our members,” Trainor said. “And we’ll continue to be leaders and organizers in New Jersey’s workers’ and civil rights movement.”