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AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 executive director Steve Tully. (Photo: AFSCME via Facebook).

AFSCME sues Murphy administration over wage disparities

Union asks why correctional officers received pay increase but other state employees didn’t

By Joey Fox, October 26 2022 1:36 pm

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) New Jersey Council 63 announced today that it will sue Gov. Phil Murphy and his administration for failing to address pay disparities for women and people of color.

“We have made every effort to discuss the pay disparity issue with the governor, but he has ignored some of the state’s most dedicated and hardest working employees,” AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 executive director Steve Tully said in a statement. “Governor Murphy is leaving them behind.”

In January 2022, Murphy signed a bill raising the salaries of correctional police officers due to challenges caused by Covid and staff shortages; no equivalent bill was passed or signed giving the same pay increase to other state workers. As Tully noted, correctional officers are mostly men, while AFSCME’s membership is significantly more female and racially diverse.

“We don’t understand why the same governor, who says he supports women and people of color and created a wealth disparity task force to remedy long-standing inequities that affect black, Hispanic and Latino New Jerseyans, would refuse to agree to equal pay increases for state workers, who are primarily female and people of color,” he said.

Among the government employees the union represents are approximately 6,000 state workers, including employees of veterans homes, psychiatric hospitals, development centers, and more. 

“All state employees have worked almost three years under COVID-19,” Paramus Veterans Home Employees president Sandra Hebert said. “We are front-line workers who deserve equal pay.”

This story was updated at 3:28 p.m. with more information on the corrections officer pay increase.

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