Jersey City Mayor Accepts Endorsement of Union Workers
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal The Jersey Journal
on February 01, 2013 at 3:58 PM
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, seeking a third full term in office, today received the endorsement of the various labor unions that represent some city, county and Jersey City Medical Center workers.
Sherryl Gordon and Rich Gollin, executive directors of Council 1 and Council 52 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Healy is “truly concerned with the well-being of the working people,” in a statement released from the Healy campaign.
“Mayor Healy clearly represents not only traditional democratic values, but also supports uplifting as well as maintaining a strong middle class in our state,” said Gordon. “Supporting Mayor Healy certainly is a good step in the right direction in assisting working families throughout the region.”
Healy, first elected in a November 2004 special election, is facing Ward E City Councilman Steve Fulop and former college basketball star Jerry Walker in the May 14 city election, when the mayoralty and all nine council seats are up for grabs.
The AFSCME locals included in today’s endorsement include employees of the Jersey City Medical Center, the Jersey City Free Public Library, and the Hudson County Division of Welfare. Healy has previously received the endorsement of the Jersey City Education Association and an AFSCME local that represent some school district workers.
“I am deeply honored to have AFSCME’s endorsement to keep the progress going in Jersey City,” Healy said. “I’ve always worked hard to support Jersey City's working families, and they will always be at the forefront of all that I do.”
Christie vetoes minimum wage bill, Democrats vow to put measure on ballot
By Jenna Portnoy/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie rejected a bill today to raise the minimum wage and countered with a proposal of his own, virtually ensuring Democrats will ask voters in November whether they favor a $1-an-hour increase.
Christie said the Democrats’ bill, which would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 and tied future increases to the rate of inflation, would have hurt the state’s economy.
"The sudden, significant minimum-wage increase in this bill, coupled with automatic raises each year tied to the Unites States Consumer Price Index, will jeopardize the economic recovery we all seek," Christie said in his conditional veto message to the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
On the deadline to act today, the Republican governor vetoed the bill (A2162) and countered with a scaled-back proposal to phase in, over three years, an increase of $1. In addition, the governor’s plan would eliminate the automatic hikes. New Jersey’s $7.25 rate mirrors the minimum set by the federal government in July 2009.
Christie tried to sweeten the pot with a promise to increase the earned income tax credit if Democrats went along with his plan.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) denounced Christie’s counteroffer and vowed to ask voters to change the constitution to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 and tie future hikes to inflation.
Such a move, which requires a second vote in the Legislature, would bypass Christie because the governor has no role in the process of changing the Constitution.
"His action shows that he believes politics and politicians need to remain part of the process on minimum wage," Sweeney said. "I think they need to be removed from it entirely."
Oliver called Christie’s conditional veto "callous" action that leaves lawmakers no choice but to take it directly to voters.
"The optimal ?? ???????? ??????? approach would have been for Gov. Christie to show some heart and approve this pro-worker measure as proposed," she said.
Republican lawmakers and the business community — from the Chamber of Commerce to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association — applauded what they called Christie’s measured approach.
But there was one notable exception.
The New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business "expressed regret" over Christie’s plan to enact a minimum wage increase of any size in the current economic climate.
"This was a difficult decision for the governor and we appreciate his effort to soften the blow," said NFIB state director Laurie Ehlbeck. "But the bottom line is that it’s still a blow to small businesses and that’s going to harm the economy."
Ehlbeck called the Democrats’ proposal to tie future increases to inflation a "political giveaway."
Unions and advocacy groups said Christie’s offer wasn’t enough to help low-income residents.
AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech said his membership will lobby for approval of the referendum. New Jersey Working Families Alliance called the governor’s counterproposal "too little too late."
"Today Governor Christie proved once again that his only real constituency is the state’s wealthiest," Executive Director Bill Holland said. "And once again he holds the livelihoods of the working poor hostage by making an end to his tax hike on low-income workers conditional on the Legislature’s acceptance of a bad deal."
Christie used the earned income tax credit, which he slashed in his first year in office, as a bargaining chip last year after Democrats refused to enact his tax cut plan.
Christie was traveling out of state Sunday and today, but spokesman Kevin Roberts said the governor signed the conditional veto before he left New Jersey.
Superior Court Nominations
Gov. Chris Christie filed the following nominations with the State Senate.
JUDGES OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
Nominate for reappointment Arthur Bergman (East Brunswick, Middlesex)
Nominate for reappointment Sherry A. Hutchins-Henderson (West Orange, Essex)
Nominate for reappointment Robert J. Mega (Clark, Union)
Nominate for reappointment Bonnie J. Mizdol (Paramus, Bergen)
Nominate for reappointment Kenneth J. Slomienski (Wallington, Bergen)
Nominate for appointment Peter A. Bogaard (Chester, Morris)
Nominate for appointment Bradford M. Bury (Watchung, Somerset)
Nominate for appointment J. Randall Corman (Sayreville, Middlesex)
Nominate for appointment Angela White Dalton (Howell, Monmouth)
Nominate for appointment Katie A. Gummer (Rumson, Monmouth)
Nominate for appointment Daniel R. Lindemann (Wayne, Passaic)
Nominate for appointment Linda E. Mallozzi (Union, Union)
Nominate for appointment Arnold L. Natali, Jr. (Little Silver, Monmouth)
Nominate for appointment Michael F. O’Neill (Branchburg, Somerset)
Nominate for appointment Christopher D. Rafano (South River, Middlesex)
Nominate for appointment Nesle A. Rodriguez (Jersey City, Hudson)
Nominate for appointment Joseph W. Oxley (Red Bank, Monmouth)
Nominate for appointment Donald J. Stein (Haddon Heights, Camden)
Nominate for appointment James P. Wilson (Roselle, Union)
Nominate for appointment Mara E. Zazzali-Hogan (Shrewsbury, Monmouth)
On Monday, November 19th, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee heard, S-2, “The Shared Services” bill which was voted out of committee unanimously. This bill has been changed considerably from when first introduced in January, 2012. That bill was completely unfriendly to labor, but through negotiations it has now been modified, to an extent that Labor could take a hands off approach knowing that S-2, in its’ present form, it won’t hurt us, help us or adversely impact our members or workers. Several union rights provisions have been added. The bill continues to be negotiated and at this writing, does not have an Assembly Sponsor and can be further amended in the Assembly.
Additionally, S-3/A-2162,” Increase in Minimum Wage” was also voted out of Committee along nearly party lines, 7-6, with Democratic Senator J. Van Drew joining Republicans, in opposition. This bill would increase minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 a one dollar increase, but more importantly it will tie future raises in the minimum wage to The Consumer Price Index, The CPI. This would cause the minimum wage to be adjusted as prices go up., in effect giving a raise to minimum wage worker linked to inflation, in essence a COLA. This bill goes to the full Senate for approval having been passed in the Assembly in May of this year.
The following letter is being sent sent to the legislative members in the affected districts, then to members of the legislative review committee and finally to ALL New Jersey Lesgilaturers.
Dear New Jersey Legislator
Recently, the New Jersey Task Force on the Closure of State developmental Centers announced its intent to close two facilities, Woodbridge Developmental Center and North Jersey Developmental Center – Totowa, within the next 5 years. These two facilities are located in the northern most region and the most densely populated counties (Essex, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, and Union) in the state where workers reside and provide services to the developmentally disabled.
While we understand the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision, requiring states to provide community living arrangements in the least restrictive environment and appropriate support for individuals whose disabilities do not require them to be institutionalized to receive care, we question the need to close any facility to comply. The important part of this 1999 Olmstead decision is that it gives the consumer the “option to make a choice”. The removal of Totowa and Woodbridge from the choices where a developmentally disabled individual in the northeast portion of our state can receive care takes away that option and virtually deprives them of access to this specific type of service in their local community. This also a dire hardship to the relocation of the residents housed in these facilities.
We are not only opposed to the Task Force’s recommendation, but will fight to continue to provide these much needed services. We have heard the argument made by proponents to recommend the closure based largely on the impact of jobs. New Jersey has the fifth highest unemployment in the nation, which currently averages approximately 9.6 percent.
AFSCME Council 1 represents a large portion of these workers that will be adversely affected by these closures and we will be working tirelessly to inform these communities of the far reaching affect of these closings. We ask for your support in our effort to save these facilities.