The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and many affiliated unions from across the tristate area packed the Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday morning to express unanimous support for an Atlantic City Recovery bill that allows the city to come back from its financial challenges without dismantling union members’ collective bargaining rights.
Speaker Vincent Prieto’s compromise bill, A-3614, was passed unanimously with bipartisan support by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
The 7-0 vote followed nearly two hours of passionate testimony led by New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech, who told the panel, “If labor has no voice, democracy has no future.”
About 75 union leaders and rank-and-file members from across our state joined the state federation at the hearing, including our brothers and sisters from the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), United Auto Workers (UAW), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Health Professionals & Allied Employees (HPAE), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Police Benevolent Association (PBA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), United Association (UA) plumbers locals, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) and Communications Workers of America (CWA).
This bill is a viable alternative to the governor’s takeover bill. A-3614 achieves our common interest of restoring Atlantic City, without destroying collective bargaining or invalidating contracts, taking away citizens’ democratic right to vote in local referendums or ending civil service or NLRB protections. This compromise represents the best way forward for the resort area. It’s a win-win for the residents of the city, the taxpayers of the state and the workers employed by the city.
We’d like all of our affiliates to ask for what is right: Please contact your local elected officials to urge them to support A-3614.
We offer our heartfelt thanks to Speaker Prieto for crafting this bill, the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee for unanimously passing it, and to our union brothers and sisters for their unwavering support and solidarity!