Katz is slapped by union for meddling Monday September 17, 2007, 3:01 PM The national leadership of the Communications Workers of America this morning rebuked New Jersey Union President Carla Katz for breaking union negotiating rules and violating a mandate to stay out of the bargaining during recent state labor talks. The union's complaints with Katz are detailed in a legal brief filed in state Superior Court in Trenton as part of a lawsuit about whether the e-mail traffic between her and Gov. Jon Corzine must be released. A news release summarizing the brief was issued by the CWA district office in Avenel this morning. "Carla Katz's legal claims in this case blatantly misrepresent the collective bargaining responsibilities of her local and the national union under CWA's structure, and they are a thinly veiled attempt to justify her effort to circumvent the state-worker bargaining committee last winter," Chris Shelton, CWA District One vice president, said in a statement. "It is intolerable to have one local president out of seven purporting to represent the interests of all 40,000 CWA State workers in unauthorized, secret, sidebar contacts with any representative of management, let alone the governor." Katz said today she is studying the union's court filing. Corzine and Katz dated for two years before he was elected governor and their relationship - and the millions he gave her in gifts after they broke up - has become the unshakable political headache of his administration. Earlier this year, Republicans sued the governor to gain access to e-mails between Corzine and Katz, arguing that the correspondence was state business and open to public review. Corzine disagreed, saying the e-mail traffic is private and personal and exempt from the Open Public Records Act. Katz said the e-mails were part of contract negotiations and must, therefore, remain confidential because of a special exception in the law. Katz's claims that her conversations with Corzine were part of negotiations that led the national union leadership to split with her today, the union said. CWA leaders said they asked Katz to clarify for the court her limited role in the labor talks and they only filed their brief after she refused. The national union said Katz had only a limited role in the negotiations even though she leads one of seven locals whose members are covered by the pact. So, the union said, Katz isn't in a position to claim her e-mails are protected by the OPRA exemption for collective bargaining. Plus, the leaders said, they have no idea what Katz said to Corzine during their "secret" exchanges. CWA's Shelton said Katz "is no different and no better than any other local president of CWA. She needs to abide by CWA's long-standing rules and procedures when it comes to collective bargaining, and her claims in this lawsuit suggest that she believed the union's internal rules simply did not apply to her." Katz is president of Local 1034, the largest CWA unit in New Jersey. A fixture in Trenton politics, she burst into public view after Corzine announced his candidacy for governor in 2004. He has repeatedly said his relationship with Katz and the gifts he lavished on her would have no effect on his ability to take a tough line with the CWA or other state worker unions in the face of New Jersey's perpetual fiscal problems. Last spring, the CWA ratified a pact with the state - a deal Katz vocally opposed and one that Corzine has hailed for its givebacks on health-care payments and retirement rules.