When the word “bankruptcy” got inserted into the public conversation about Atlantic City about a year ago, elected officials outside of Atlantic City started to pay attention. They didn’t pay attention to local elected leaders, because they knew they wouldn’t have to. The law the governor and Legislature were about to pass stripped away much of the mayor’s and City Council’s governing authority. They didn’t pay attention to city residents either — because their ability to oppose measures via voter referendum would also be stripped away by the new law.
By Laurel Brennan
During the month of March, we celebrate Women’s History by honoring the heroic deeds of the many women who have made life better for families through acts of selflessness. We remember such pioneers as Charlotte Forten, a Philadelphia teacher who was among the first to volunteer to educate newly freed slaves in the South; Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, who fearlessly fought for workers’ rights during the early 1900s; and Alice Paul, a New Jersey resident who was the strategist in the campaign for women’s right to vote.
As is evident from these examples, the struggle for women’s equality and economic justice often has been led by trailblazers in the labor movement. As the beneficiaries of their actions, we pay homage to our union and non-union sisters alike.Read more
By Laurel Brennan
The American woman’s struggle for equal pay is not new. As far back as the Civil War, working women have been fighting to be paid on the same scale as men. As Labor Secretary Lewis Schwellenbach pointed out when he tried unsuccessfully to get an equal pay amendment passed in 1947, “There is no sex difference in the food she buys or the rent she pays, there should be none in her pay envelope.”
As one of the few groups advocating for the interests of working people, labor unions have led the way for gains. In 1961, labor activist Esther Peterson convinced President Kennedy to address gender pay inequality. Over the next two years, she gathered data, built coalitions and overcame fierce opposition in a successful campaign to enact a national Equal Pay Act. The following year, the labor-backed Civil Rights Act of 1964 further strengthened laws for gender equality. And, in 2009, unions pressed Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended the time frame for women to file equal-pay lawsuits when business owners intentionally shortchanged them.Read more
A decision before next summer in a U.S. Supreme Court case you’ve probably never heard of has the power to significantly reduce employee earnings and compensation well into the future. The wealthy special-interest organizations financing the case have spent great sums to ensure that all workers earn lower pay, receive few if any retirement benefits and see their full-time jobs replaced with part-time work.
Right-wing billionaires like the Koch Brothers have partnered with Tea Party extremists and are reshaping the economy in their favor by making it even harder for working people like teachers, electricians, office workers and firefighters to get and stay ahead economically. This right-wing influence is making it harder every year for workers to join a union and negotiate wages and benefits that enable them to earn a decent living and build a better life.Read more
In an opinion piece on NJ.com and published in the Times of Trenton newspaper on Saturday, July 18, 2015, NJ State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech lays out common-sense measures that can be taken now that would add as much as $1.6 billion to New Jersey's public pension system without costing 99 percent of taxpayers a penny.
The NJ AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions are leading the search for solutions to NJ's pension funding problem. Please CLICK HERE to read the full op-ed.
The op-ed below was published on nj.com:
Gov. Chris Christie often talks about the need for transparency in government. He frequently points to his own administration as an example of how to carry out the functions of government in a forthcoming and above-board manner. Why, then, has the governor vetoed a bill that establishes oversight for deals that privatize government services?Read more
Pension System Needs Saving, Not Starving
The Star-Ledger, May 9, 2014