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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By Charles Wowkanech and Hetty Rosenstein
Gov. Chris Christie often says he wants public-sector benefits to mirror what's offered to employees in the private sector. However, the governor won't dare mention that shorting pension funds in the private sector is illegal. Only in government can Christie get away with flouting his pension obligation without legal ramifications.
For all Christie's bluster about "exhorbitant" benefits plans, the truth is that New Jersey's average yearly pension benefit of $26,000 is among the nation's least generous — 95th in benefit generosity out of America's 100 largest pension funds. And he doesn't tell you that the average New Jersey government employee pays more out-of-pocket for individual health insurance than government workers in any other state.
The governor flat out isn't being factual when he claims a typical government employee pays $126,000 toward pension and health benefits and receives $2.4 million in return.Read more
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO issued the following statement after listening to Gov. Christie’s FY17 budget address:
The governor is out of touch with the realities facing New Jersey’s working families, who are worse off today than they were when he took office in 2010. Though his administration has given out billions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations to create and sustain private-sector jobs, New Jersey has not recovered all the jobs lost in the 2008 Great Recession, unlike neighboring states. Eight thousand Atlantic City casino-industry workers have been laid off, with no solid plan to help them back to their feet. Property taxes are still higher than any state in the country, topping $8,100 on average.Read more
Despite the governor’s sound bites, bullying and rhetoric, the fact remains that New Jersey is in far worse shape today than when he was sworn in six years ago. While the governor wags a finger of blame at unions, the reality is that he is responsible for this mess. His failed policies mean that families are working harder and bringing home less than at any time in recent history. The only ones moving up the economic ladder are those already on the top rungs. Why would anyone vote for a failed state official to run the whole country?
Gov. Christie paused his floundering presidential campaign to deliver his annual State of the State address on Tuesday, January 12, 2016. He’s been out of state so much – all or part of 261 days last year – campaigning in New Hampshire and Iowa that it’s hard to imagine that our governor knows, or cares, how the working families back home are really doing:Read more
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech issued the following statement in response to the governor’s disgraceful comments scapegoating union workers for his own failures:
“It’s no secret that Chris Christie has been ‘calling it in’ for close to a year now, relegating the governorship to basically a $175,000 per year no-show job. For that reason, the Legislature is going directly to the citizens to advance common-sense solutions to the state’s most urgent problems. That’s leadership, and the governor should take note.”Read more
President Charles Wowkanech issued the following statement on Gov. Christie's conditional veto of bills to aid Atlantic City:
"With the entire Atlantic City region in financial crisis, and thousands of casino workers laid off from their jobs, it is irresponsible for this governor to let a package of bills idle on his desk through the summer then announce today that he would not enact the critically needed aid measures. The governor’s inaction leaves tens of thousands of working families who were counting on relief in continued financial distress.”Read more
We are very disappointed that Gov. Christie used his position to promote violence against teachers and our labor movement. It’s a sad day when a person who is asking to lead our country says that the national teachers union ‘deserves a punch in the face.’Read more
As Gov. Christie launched his bid for the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO reviewed his record on issues important to working families. Here are the results:Read more
Gov. Christie had the opportunity to put the people of New Jersey before his own political ambitions by signing a budget that protects working families, funds public pensions according to the law and raises taxes on the wealthiest.
Instead, he slashed pension funding, wrongly labeled benefits as ‘bloated’ and blamed ‘a broken system’ rather than his own refusal to fund it.
Despite the governor’s rhetoric, New Jersey pensioners are NOT getting something for nothing. The state’s average pension benefit is among the least generous in the country – PERS ranks 95th in generosity out of the country’s 100 largest pension systems, according to a joint analysis by Keystone Research and New Jersey Policy Perspective. A NJ Spotlight study shows government workers in New Jersey pay more for health insurance than anywhere else in the country.Read more