Category Archives: union members

Happy Labor Day: Union Maid – Pete Seeger

This is a little late seeing how Labor Day is almost over, but I had to post this classic Pete Seeger video in honor of all those union members that made life in this country what it is today. Without them our standard of living wouldn’t be what it is today. So if you haven’t hugged a union member today, make sure you do so.

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Filed under Labor Day, Pete Seeger, union maid, union members, You Tube

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 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

NJPP Monday Minute 5/24/10: Stand Up rally brings record crowd to Trenton to protest budget cuts

In the largest rally ever seen in Trenton, 35,000 New Jerseyans from all walks of life came together last Saturday to protest Gov. Christie’s proposed budget cuts that will harm the state’s working families, children, seniors and schools.

The crowd was a diverse mix of community activists, union members, and even parents and children who cheered loudly when speakers criticized Christie’s plans, saying that the state’s most needy residents would suffer the most.

Over 100 community organizations endorsed the rally, among them faith-based organizations, environmental advocates, direct service providers, represents of Latino and African-American groups and children’s advocacy organizations. Community turnout for the rally was coordinated by Better Choices for New Jersey with a clear message to the governor and Legislature: stop the cuts and restore the tax on New Jersey’s highest income earners.

The Legislature last Thursday approved a bill to restore the income tax surcharge on those making $1 million or more. The Governor wasted little time vetoing it on the same night.

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Filed under Gov. Chris Christie, Monday Minute, New Jersey Policy Perspective, protest rally, Trenton, union members