Category Archives: right to work

13th Legislative District Candidate Kevin Lavan Supports Unions and the Middle Class

I support unions. While the consequences of the recent pension deal between Governor Christie and Trenton lawmakers remains to be seen, now is the time for New Jerseyans to consider how best to protect the middle class in an era of high unemployment and declining pay. Unlike my opponents, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, I recognize that union membership translates into higher wages and better workplace conditions for Garden State workers. Handlin and O’Scanlon not only want to reform public employee benefits — an idea that has merits — they want to restrict the rights of private sector workers to negotiate with management.

O’Scanlon is the sponsor of a bill that repeals the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act and the Public Works Contractor Registration Act, a move that essentially ends prevailing wage standards. That’s an assault not only on union members, but on non-union construction workers and others in the building trades who rely on fair wage protections as a guarantee that they will be paid at a rate commensurate with their work.
Just this month, O’Scanlon and Handlin introduced a bill that makes New Jersey a “Right to Work” state. Although the legislation was pronounced dead on arrival, I am disappointed that my opponents are pursuing such a radical agenda. Right to work really means right to be fired. Passage of Handlin and O’Scanlon’s legislation will result in lower wages and have a negative impact on workers safety and health.
My opponents are not only on the wrong side of working families, but quite literally, they are writing the laws that will set back the clock one hundred years and remove the protections that helped build our middle class.
It is important that New Jerseyans, especially those residing in the Thirteenth Legislative District, understand that the current debate extends far beyond public employee pensions. Elected officials should do everything in their power to protect taxpayers. While in office, I did just that. However, Garden State workers — both union and non-union — deserve to know that Handlin and O’Scanlon seek to undermine the very provisions that have allowed countless families to enter the middle class. I want no part in that, and if I am fortunate enough to be elected to the Assembly, I will be a champion of working families.
Kevin M. Lavan
Democratic Candidate
13th Legislative District

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Filed under 13th Legisaltive District, Amy Handlin, Declan O'Scanlon, Democratic Candidate, fair wages, Hazlet Mayor, Kevin Lavan, Middle Class, right to work, union members, working families

Hypocrite Handlin’s "Right to Work" Article Is Biased And Fails To Tell The Whole Story.

Readers may find Amy Handlin’s article about the “Right to Work” and unions rather interesting even though it is somewhat biased and fails to tell the whole story.

Since I am a life member of the Communications Workers of America” union ( a member since 1953 when I went to work for the telephone company…it was New Jersey Bell then and was Bell Atlantic when I retired in 1989 and is Verizon today) ,and CWA was a union that represented only telephone workers and was an “agency shop” not a “closed shop”, my view of the situation differs from Ms. Handlin’s point of view.

Unions are businesses also and they are in the business of representation……….thus CWA represents public workers today because technology has diminished the number of telephone workers. Since it requires many members to accomplish goals on behalf of membership,CWA expanded it’s membership into the public sector where the growth of potential membership existed. The old adage is “there is strength in numbers ” .

Everyone benefits from the unions accomplishments,even management who are not usually unionized ( police are one exception). CWA was always considered one of the most democratic ( not in the political sense) of the major unions in this country.

Distortion of the facts for political purposes serves no one . The republicans do a good job at the blame game but they have no compunction in failing to tell the whole truth for political purposes. Union membership is comprised of both Republicans and Democrats……..lots of people from each party. It is not all about politics, it’s about “fair representation” of workers rights.

Barbara Thorpe
Lincroft NJ

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Filed under Amy Handlin, ATT, Communication Workers of America (CWA), labor unions, Politics, right to work, Verizon, workers rights

Hypocrite Handlin Is Wrong On "Right-To-Work"

Republican Assemblywoman Amy “the Hypocrite” Handlin (LD13), has a guest column appearing in print and online in this weeks edition of the Independent, in which she states that she will be introducing a bill that will essentially strip all workers of their right to collective bargaining.

This guest column of her’s first appeared online at newjerseynewsroom.com back on May 31st and does not seem to have been updated since.

Since the first publication of Handlin’s column appeared over at the newsroom, I would be remised if I didn’t point out that her proposed legislation, which just so happened to be co-sponsored by her running mate in this years election Declan O’Scanlon, was dead on arrival. Good reporting and follow-up to Handlin’s commentary piece was done by Newjerseynewsroom reporter Tom Hester Jr.
In his follow-up which appeared July 8th, Hester spoke to NJ Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and is quoted as stating:
“This legislation is dead on arrival. It’s that simple. Dead on arrival.

Radical conservative ideology such as this has no place in New Jersey. This type of move may play elsewhere, but, quite simply, this anti-worker bill will never see the light of day.

Not only is this legislation an atrocious assault on worker rights, but it’s terrible economic policy, it would set back any chance we have under Gov. Christie of a strong recovery.”…


“Democrats and Republicans can work together for the common good and when appropriate to improve our economy and protect worker benefits, but this wage-cutting, anti-business bill is a line in the sand that cannot be crossed,”

Hester also quoted New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech who stated, “The deceptively named “right to work” policy is currently law in 22 states and is considered one of the most anti-union policies in the nation,” about Handlin and O’Scanlan’s proposed bill (A-4223).
So what is the purpose of having this old and out of date commentary printed in the Independent other than to mislead and misinform readers of her district, many of whom are hard working members of unions in both public and private unions? It is obviously a play at gaining support from the more conservative residents in the district and members of the TEA Party, who feel that she is out of touch and a “do-nothing”.
If this legislation ever where to be signed into law here in New Jersey it would undermined the livelihoods of not only union members, but all workers, white collared as well as blue collared.
Wages would remain stagnant and pension and health benefits would slowly dwindle away anytime a employer was concerned that his bottom-line was no longer big enough to support his mansion or yacht club membership.
Below are a few reader responses to Handlin’s commentary posted on the NewJerseyNewsroom, it seems that they also have a problem with her proposed and non existent, dead on arrival typically hypocritical legislation that is meant to pander instead of providing serious answers to her district’s problems:

“Right to Work”is a misnomer. It’s really the opportunity for any company to pay any employee any amount the company wants. Just what we need: more people earning less than a living wage and without any access to health care other than visits to the emergency rooms. So good for NJ! The assemblywoman cannot be so naive that she believes employers would care about safe working conditions. After all, money spent on safe working conditions would be better off lining the pockets of the wealthy. And, by law, union dues cannot be used for political purposes. Members must choose to donate into a separate fund. Now, if members are too scared to tell the union bosses they won’t donate, shame on the members. (Sarah H)

“Unions need a balance” – For the most part I agree with Ms. Handlin. I don’t think it’s an all or nothing deal though, unions are good things to have in otherwise unsustainably-low paying situations, but for professionals it makes less sense. Let the legislation you craft not try to swing the pendulum so far that it undermines the good side of unions, or it will surely fail.
( Ashley_)

” Handlin comments” – According to Handlin:“Right to Work would also quicken New Jersey’s economic revival. Right-to-Work states had 497,000 new businesses from 1993 to 2009, compared with 340,000 in forced union states, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently cited by the Wall Street Journal. That’s remarkable because just 40 percent of American workers live in Right-to-Work states.”

It’s hard to believe so many people fall for statements like this of Handlin’s, and support radical legislation like this. The truth is, what’s really remarkable is that ALL of the businesses she cites to being created from 1993 to 2009 weren’t created in Right-to-Work states…after all, in their pursuit of profits, businesses will do anything to keep the costs of labor down. Why is all the greatest economic growth now going on in China, India, etc? Because people will work 16 hour days for $12. Handlin sees that success spreading to the south, and now wants to bring it here to NJ. If it’s been so great for those 22 states, why is our per-capita income and standard of living so much higher here?

Thanks but no thanks, Amy Handlin, you’re just a rich legislator who wants to be even richer like all the others in your party. Some of us can still see right through all your party’s BS. (Richard W)

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Filed under 13th Legislative District, AFL-CIO, Amy Handlin, Declan O'Scanlon, New Jersey Newsroom, NJ State Assembly, public workers, right to work, Sheila Oliver, the Independent, union members

Has anyone heard of due process?: Politicians condem NLRB over complaint filed against Boeing

Unions and the rights of their workers are being trampled on, when is it going to stop? Maybe after work conditions and wages are returned to their pre-1920’s standing and the return of the “Robber Barons” who lined the pockets of political cronies to looked the other way.

By Ross Eisenbrey, Economic Policy Institute Vice President
posted from The Hill’s Congress Blog

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently filed a complaint against the Boeing Corporation based on evidence that Boeing moved work away from Washington State as punishment for the employees having exercised their legally protected right to strike. Politicians who either don’t know the law or don’t care about it have condemned the NLRB, including Mitt Romney and his fellow Republican candidates for President. They want to rile up the business community by painting the decision as the President’s, even though it was made by a career government employee on behalf of an independent agency outside the President’s control.

Various senators and congressmen are now trying to influence the Labor Board’s ultimate decision, which is not a policy decision but an adjudication. The law and policy were provided by Congress in 1935 when the National Labor Relations Act was passed by Congress and signed by Franklin Roosevelt. The NLRB’s only responsibility is to apply the law to the facts of this case, an undertaking that should be free from political influence or intimidation. And yet a growing number of legislators are threatening to slash the NLRB’s budget and punish its General Counsel if the case proceeds in the manner proscribed by statute.

This attack on the NLRB is political and self-interested. After all, the NLRB’s administrative law judge has not even held a trial yet. The only decision that has been made – and all legal scholars agree it was defensible – was by the General Counsel in response to a charge brought by the International Association of Machinists that there was good cause to believe that Boeing had violated the law. In other words, the union provided enough evidence of Boeing’s motivation that a trial in the matter is justified.

The members of the NLRB will not even review the case unless and until the trial judge’s decision is appealed. So all the howling about the NLRB’s assault on capitalism and free enterprise is premature, to say the least.

Sadly, the political pressure is having an effect already. Even Democrats are racing to say that, of course, business has the right to relocate anywhere it wants to, even to a so-called right-to-work state like South Carolina. And they’re right, up to a point.

Businesses are free to relocate to other states or countries. South Carolina has been a stop-over for businesses relocating from the north for decades; many companies, from textile manufacturers to furniture companies and paper processors, often go on to countries like China after absorbing the tax breaks and other subsidies South Carolina offers them. Unions are rare in South Carolina, but independent unions in China are actually illegal, and wages are even lower in Chinese textile plants than in Gaston or Winnsboro.

But the motive for a relocation matters. Moving for cheaper labor is legal. But closing a plant in Los Angeles and moving to North Dakota to avoid hiring Hispanics or African Americans is not legal. Shutting a factory in New York and moving it to South Carolina to avoid hiring Jews or Muslims would not be legal, either. One can imagine other illegal motivations, but the point is that we reasonably limit relocations when they violate laws. In Boeing’s case, the bad motive that has been alleged is a desire to punish the machinist union members for exercising their legally protected right to strike. E-mail traffic among Boeing managers is alleged to show that it was due to the desire to punish the Washington State Boeing workers for having engaged in lawful strikes that airline production work was transferred. Congress has prohibited job decisions based explicitly on unlawful animus, whether it’s hostility to blacks, women, Mormons, Muslims, Jews or unions. Instead of browbeating the neutral prosecutor and judge, why not let them do their jobs and apply the law to the facts? We used to call that due process.

Ross Eisenbrey is a lawyer and former commissioner of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Committee. He has been vice president of the Economic Policy Institute since 2003.

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Filed under Boeing Corp, Congress, Congress Blog, Franklin D. Roosevelt, labor unions, National Labor Relations Board(NLRB), North Carolina, Republican Candidates, right to work, The Hill

New Nationwide Ad: Wall Street Chooses Greed over Workers, Employee Free Choice Act

Second ad in a week builds on hundreds of grassroots events and momentum for legislation during Congressional recess:

Greeted with a new massive nationwide ad campaign along with over 350 grassroots actions, members of Congress returned to their home states and districts this week to be reminded that a majority of the public demands passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. A new, hard-hitting television ad will hit national airwaves today exposing the real motives of those who oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. It joins another ad already on the air and grassroots events across the country highlighting the broad support for the bill.

The ad calls out corporations, many of whom have received billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bailouts, as opposing workers’ freedom to bargain with their employers for better wages and benefits at a time when the imbalance of power is the reason for our economic crisis. Instead of focusing on rebuilding our economy and getting us out of the mess they helped to create, the ad points out that companies like Bank of America took $45 billion in taxpayer money and have been working against the Employee Free Choice Act, exploiting their low wage workers, and rewarding its leaders, like CEO Ken Lewis, with million dollar payouts.

“The public and lawmakers alike need to know that the special interests opposing the Employee Free Choice Act are the same ones who caused this economic meltdown,” said American Rights at Work Executive Director Mary Beth Maxwell. “This new ad sends a resolute message that now is the time to help workers to bargain for a better life. The Employee Free Choice Act is urgently needed to create fairness in this economy.”

The momentum for the Employee Free Choice Act is growing, with ramped up grassroots events underway during the recess including rallies, anti-corporate actions, leafleting, lobbying, town hall meetings, moving billboards, community forums, vigils, call-in days, and more. Workers, elected officials, small business owners, students, faith leaders, civil rights activists, and other advocates, are participating in an array of actions underscoring the broad and diverse support for the measure.

The new ad campaign and recess activities continue to build on the broad support for the Employee Free Choice Act: independent polling confirmed a majority of the public supports its passage; over 40 leading economists – including Nobel laureates – released a joint statement endorsing the legislation as a critical part of our economic recovery; and just last week the “Faces of the Employee Free Choice Act ” campaign was unveiled by award-winning cast members of The West Wing standing alongside workers to promote the freedom to form unions on Capitol Hill.

For More Information Contact: American Rights at Work

Josh Goldstein (American Rights at Work) 202-822-2127 x118

Alison Omens (AFL-CIO)
202-637-5083

Noreen Nielsen (Change to Win)
202-721-6047

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Filed under AFL-CIO, American rights at work, Change to win, Congress, Employee Free Choice Act, greed, nationwide ad campaign, right to work, Wall Street