Today, members of the state Assembly passed S-2160/A-3819, a bill that will allow workers to access unemployment benefits after 30 days on strike or depending on the nature of the labor dispute. We thank our many affiliates and allies, who joined us in supporting this important legislation, and urge the governor to, for once, put the interests of working families first and sign this measure into law.
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Far too often, workers are taken advantage of by unscrupulous companies that use their size and resources to force workers into accepting unreasonable wages and working conditions. This legislation would ensure workers are not starved back to work by their employer, that they have the means to stand up for fair treatment on the job, and can have a basic level of income to provide for their families during a prolonged labor dispute.
Workers with UNITE HERE Local 54 were on strike for more than a month at the Taj Mahal after billionaire Carl Icahn stripped away health care and pension benefits from casino workers and took away their half-hour paid meal break. Rather than respecting the needs of workers, management announced its intent to close the property, forcing approximately 3,000 people out of work.
It is clear that additional protection is needed for working people, fighting for fair treatment in the workplace. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO thanks the primary sponsors of this legislation, Assembly members Quijano, DeAngelo, Giblin, Benson, Zwicker, Danielson, and Houghtaling as well as Senate President Sweeney and Senator Joseph Vitale.
When workers’ rights are undermined, employees shouldn’t have to sacrifice their livelihoods just to stand up for the justice they deserve. This legislation marks a strong step forward and the New Jersey State AFL-CIO will continue to lead in this effort.