Solidarity was evident on Tuesday with more than 300 leaders and rank-and-file members representing various unions joining together with our allies and community partners for a march and rally to fight for Atlantic City’s future and city employees’ jobs.
“When labor has no role, democracy has no future,” New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech told the cheering crowd. “An injustice to one is an injustice to all.”
More than 39,000 workers from Massachusetts to Virginia, who are members of CWA and IBEW, are set to go on strike at Verizon if a fair agreement is not reached by April 13th at 6:00 a.m. Labor and management have been engaged in ten months of intense negotiations. Despite the good-faith effort of workers to come to an agreement, by offering hundreds of millions of dollars in health care concessions, the company has refused to budge and respect the legitimate concerns of workers.
Informational pickets are set to take place around the state, beginning on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. We will follow up with the details for when and where you can join a picket line. Your solidarity is critical to ensure that justice prevails in the face of blind greed.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and AFSCME District Council 71 will be leading a march and rally on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, from Caesars Atlantic City to City Hall, to express our strong support for a compromise bill (A-3614) that helps Atlantic City recover from the economic challenges brought about by consolidation of the casino industry without destroying collective bargaining or nullifying union contracts. Please join us!
March and Rally for Atlantic City’s Future & Employees' Jobs
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
12:30 p.m. March starts at Caesars Atlantic City. Meet on Atlantic Avenue.
1:00 p.m. Rally at City Hall, 1301 Bacharach Blvd., Atlantic City
City Sanitation Worker Making $22K Would Lose Job, Family Medical Benefits, Housing in Governor’s Takeover
Atlantic City’s financial crisis is taking a toll on city workers like Ahmid A. Abdullah Sr., a 39-year-old sanitation truck driver who finds it nearly impossible to support his family on his $22,000 yearly salary. The only raises he has received in 12 years in the Public Works Department have come through collective bargaining.
Abdullah urges the Legislature to “put yourselves in our place,” and vote for A-3614, the compromise bill that restores Atlantic City without dismantling collective bargaining, civil service, labor protections and more.
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.”
The following letter has been sent to members of the New Jersey General Assembly:
Demonizing unions, dismantling collective bargaining rights, stripping away the voice of local elected officials and disenfranchising voters is no “solution” to Atlantic City’s fiscal crisis. But, that’s just what the Atlantic City takeover legislation aims to do.
The bill being touted as the answer to Atlantic City’s prayers would hand Gov. Christie an unprecedented and frightening amount of power over not just Atlantic City’s finances, but over numerous other cities to which the bill could be applied.
The legislation in its current form would give Gov. Christie carte blanche to dismantle previously negotiated contracts, eliminate civil service, end the right to organize and grant the state immunity against unfair labor practices. Are you prepared to hand the governor that kind of power?
Atlantic City faces difficult financial challenges, yet Governor Christie's current proposal – which seeks to limit collective bargaining – is unacceptable. S-1711 is a Chris Christie power grab aimed at Atlantic City that strips workers of hard earned rights. On the other hand, Assembly Speaker Prieto's bill protects New Jersey's communities from Christie and his Wall Street friends.
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Employees whose work schedules are constantly changing, those who work shift work and those who are required to be on call can have a difficult time arranging child or elder care or otherwise juggling their work and personal responsibilities. Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Sheila Oliver and Pam Lampitt would make it easier for employees to achieve a work-life balance.
The “Schedules that Work Act” (A-1117/S-1397) allows employees to request work schedule changes without fear of retaliation and requires businesses (with 15 or more workers) to consider those requests seriously. The bill permits employees to request changes in their hours, times they are required to be on call, their work site and the amount of notice the employee receives for schedules and assignments.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Labor Candidates Program has reached its 869th election victory with the selection of union sister Dahlia Vertreese of IUOE 68 to the Hillside Board of Education.
Vertreese is a graduate of the 2015 Labor Candidates School who attended the program to learn more about holding elected office.
She is the fourth New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidate to take the oath of office in the past few weeks and is one of more than 140 union members currently serving on governing bodies from U.S. Congress to local Fire Commission.
Joint statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech on the proposal to take over Atlantic City:
“Attempts to undermine collective bargaining under the pretext of solving financial challenges are nothing new. We’ve seen it in states and cities across the country. We know that the best way to solve problems is to collaborate with workers who are on the front lines, like firefighters, police, teachers and city employees. Governor Christie’s current proposal – which seeks to limit collective bargaining – is unacceptable. The state Senate and the General Assembly should work together to find the right compromise that supports the principle of collective bargaining and protects the rights of working people.”