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General News

April 22, 2014

Wowkanech: Governor is sabotaging his own reforms for political gain

New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech today rebutted the governor’s assertions made during last night's "Ask the Governor" program regarding health care costs for retired public workers:
“The governor is sabotaging his own reforms for political gain. If he simply allows the reforms already in place to work, this so-called ‘crisis’ will also recede. Future retirees will be required pay a share of their health premiums. The governor knew these facts and the numbers when he signed that law. Just as the administration cannot be changing actuarial assumptions mid-game to fit their budgets, they also can’t be changing health policy for retirees mid-game to fit their politics.” 

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April 16, 2014

Wowkanech: For pension reform to work, we canít be changing the rules mid-game

Trenton – New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech today released the following statement on the administration’s mid-year reworking of actuarial assumptions regarding public employee pensions. That reworking is allowing the administration to cancel $94 million from the current budget’s pension payment, and $150 million in the upcoming FY15 budget.

“The governor has abandoned his reforms to the pension system with a mid-year reworking of the actuarial formula to fit his proposed budget. This threatens to prolong and deepen our crisis. This dangerous scheme may allow the administration to skip $244 million in pension payments this and next year, but it will also undo our progress and blow open the unfunded liability in the long run. For pension reform to work, we can’t be changing the rules mid-game.” 

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April 15, 2014

New website highlights disparity in pay between NJ's CEOs and workers

Average NJ-based CEO paid 121 times more than average worker, 331 times more than those working minimum wage
TRENTON – A new website unveiled today highlights the growing disparity in executive pay in relation to that of regular workers, putting into numbers the stark reality that while the economy has rebounded for those at the top of the pay scale, those at the middle and below are falling back.

The new site, paywatch.org, is sponsored by the national AFL-CIO, and includes facts for all 50 states and breakdowns among industries, gender, and other demographics and geographic areas. In New Jersey, specifically, the latest data shows the average pay for executives at corporations based in-state – at $5,684,012 – outpaces the $46,825 earned by the average worker by 121 times. When compared to minimum wage earners, the CEO pay differential nearly triples, to 331 times. 

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April 8, 2014

New Jersey State AFL-CIO's Laurel Brennan in Times of Trenton for Equal Pay Day

In recognition of Equal Pay Day, the Times of Trenton has published an op-ed authored by New Jersey State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan highlighting the need to close the wage gender gap -- even today, women still earn, on average, just 77 cents for every dollar made by male peers.

Click below to read the full op-ed.

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April 3, 2014


The New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Strategic Planning Committee was joined this morning by national AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, who addressed the meeting prior to the endorsement and signing of the state federation’s 18-month Strategic Plan.

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March 31, 2014

Menendez honors New Jersey State AFL-CIO's Laurel Brennan with 'Trailblazer' Award

New Jersey State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan was honored Sunday, March 30, with the Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award from United States Senator Robert Menendez.
Named in honor of the Senator’s late mother, the award is given annually to a diverse group of New Jersey women in appreciation of their outstanding contributions to the state and their compassionate, effective advocacy on behalf of New Jerseyans.
“Laurel is a trailblazing labor leader – being the first woman to serve as Secretary-Treasurer of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO – developing and implementing policies that have a dramatic positive impact on the lives of one million union members and their families,” said. Sen. Menendez.  “She has been a trailblazer for workers and for women throughout her career.” 

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March 27, 2014

Minimum wage victory celebrated on Senate floor

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO today joined with partners and advocates from across the state to be recognized by the state Senate for their work last year to successfully increase the state’s minimum wage.

At the opening of today’s Senate session, Senate President Steve Sweeney presented Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. (WFUNJ) – the statewide community advocacy coalition that led the campaign for November’s successful referendum to raise the state’s minimum wage – with a resolution in recognition of the work that went into passing the state constitutional amendment by a landslide margin.

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March 25, 2014

Coalition of business, labor unions & legislators urges Port-hiring reform to create jobs, prevent economic disaster

(Elizabeth, NJ) – Citing a growing crisis that threatens the New York-New Jersey economy, a broad coalition of business groups, labor unions, and state legislative leaders today joined together in calling for the long-overdue and immediate filling of nearly 500 empty jobs at the region’s ports, and reforms to the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor to put the shipping industry and labor in joint control of future hiring.
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech and New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Bracken are leading the coalition. The group also includes the New York Shipping Association, International Longshoremen’s Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Maritime Association of the Port of New York & New Jersey, Metropolitan Maintenance and Marine Contractors Association, NJ Motor Truck Association, NAIOP NJ, NJ Retail Merchants Association, Seafarers International Union, Teamsters, and the United Transportation Union.

“We are seeing our state’s largest economic engine essentially idled, and our port’s continued competitiveness being put at a disadvantage, because of the Waterfront Commission’s stranglehold on jobs,” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “It makes absolutely zero sense why nearly 500 badly needed jobs sit vacant when both business and labor are ready to fill them.” 

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February 24, 2014

New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech receives Keeper of the Flame Award from the A. Philip Randolph Institute

New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech was presented Saturday, February 22, with the Keeper of the Flame Award by the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI).


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Legislation News

March 20, 2014

New Jersey State AFL-CIO applauds bipartisan 'Buy American' bill for public projects

Wowkanech: ‘Our tax dollars should be kept here, not sent overseas’
(TRENTON) – The New Jersey State AFL-CIO today applauded the introduction in both the state Senate and Assembly of legislation that would ensure taxpayer money supports American jobs by requiring all state contracts, including state colleges and universities, to “Buy American.”
“When we buy American, we protect American jobs and invest in the American economy, from big manufacturers to mom-and-pop stores where workers shop,” said Wowkanech. “Our tax dollars should be kept here at home, not sent overseas. We need to pass this bill and ensure a better future for our workers and a better economy for all residents.”

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