TRENTON – Unions from all over the state joined in a rally at the State House hosted by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO today. The event was a show of solidarity with Wisconsin public employees, who may lose their collective bargaining rights if their state’s Republican governor gets his way.
“Standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with Wisconsin workers, we are sending a message to states across the nation that the attacks on working families and assaults on collective bargaining must end now,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.
“The budget crises faced in states across the nation are not the fault of the hard working middle class people who build our buildings, care for the sick, teach our children, and fight the fires. Instead, we should focus our attention on the Wall Street bankers and corporate CEOs who melted down our economy and along with it many states pension funds and finances.”
The rally featured various speakers including national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, national CWA President Larry Cohen, IUPAT President James Williams, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale and two Wisconsin union members, Arlyn Halvorson and Susan Blaustein.
In addition to the union contingents, various religious, community, student, civil rights, and progressive groups also participated in the rally.
A group of Democrats – including state Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (Middlesex) and Sen. Linda Greenstein (Middlesex/Mercer) as well as Assemblymen Daniel Benson (Mercer/Middlesex) and Wayne DeAngelo (Mercer/Middlesex) – released a statement after the rally.
“We cannot let the anti-worker sentiment that has pervaded Wisconsin infect New Jersey,” they wrote. “We support collective bargaining and negotiation, not dictation. And we call on the governor to immediately begin negotiations with the labor unions and commit to fair discussions.”
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