Tag Archive: AFL-CIO

Pen/Ben oral hearings underway in Trenton

4:15 pm: The hearing ended. There will be no decision today.

How do you think the judge will rule?

The battle lines are drawn today in court in a collective action for unpaid contributions owed to the state retirement systems. Plaintiffs seek to “enforce the State’s law and obligation to remit statutorily mandated unfunded accrued liability contributions.” Oral arguments were scheduled to commence at 10:00am.

Last year Judge Jacobson ruled at the end of the fiscal year that due to exigent circumstances (a revenue shortfall) Christie would be allowed to reduce his payment into the retirement system from $1.58 billion to $ 697 million. The hearing today focuses on Christie’s plan this year to pay only $681 million of the approximate total due of $2.25 billion. In allowing Christie to pay less than the full amount last year, the judge also found that workers were contractually entitled to full pension payments under the 2011 law enacted by the legislature and governor.

Today the judge might rule that this year the full amount is due or she might accept the governor’s argument that there are insufficient funds in the treasury to make a full payment. Legislators proposed a plan of revenue enhancement that would allow a full payment which Christie resisted. He has delayed announcing any solution to the problem and referred the matter to a commission which has yet to issue recommendations.

Plaintiffs include State Trooper organizations, CWA, AFL-CIO, NJEA, Firefighters, NJ Principals, and Probation Association, represented by their attorneys Leon Savetsky, Michael Bukowski, Leon Sokol and some eleven others. The Defendants are the State of New Jersey, Governor Christie and Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff represented by Jean Reilly and Robert Lougy from the office of the attorney general. The Judge is Mary C. Jacobson of the Superior Court, Mercer County.  

UAW rescinds endorsement of CD2 Dem Bill Hughes, who says pressure from AFL-CIO is the reason

The Democrat running against entrenched Republican Frank LoBiondo for his CD2 House seat says he was endorsed by UAW, but that endorsement has been rescinded. Bill Hughes says it was pressure from the leadership of AFL-CIO in NJ that caused UAW to pull their nod. This despite recent ratings that show disastrously-low recent UAW ratings for LoBo along with high Tea Party scores.

AFL-CIO has endorsed LoBiondo, which seems like a questionable move. Below I link to a letter signed by both national and NJ AFL-CIO presidents that even complains to DCCC that Hughes made it on to DCCC’s Emerging Races list, so high is their praise for LoBiondo.

I have reached out to AFL-CIO’s Legislative Affairs Coordinator Eric Richard by email, and to @NJAFLCIO via Twitter with questions. If/when I hear back, I’ll update. Meanwhile – –  

Today is Workers Memorial Day

Pray [mourn] for the dead and fight like hell for the living.

                                            – Mother Jones

Today is Workers Memorial Day. In ciities around the country, and in workplaces, workers killed or injured on the job are remembered. On Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (3pm, public invited), people will gather to remember co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Here’s how a union friend talks about this annual event:

This memorial service has never differentiated between the union and non-union sector, and this year is unprecedented in that the unionized sector of the work force has reached the long sought after goal of zero fatalities.

Yet, that will not deter the NYC Building and Construction Trades from appearing in full force and recognizing the tragedy of these workers’ deaths, and mourning their brothers and sisters among the unorganized.

There is no event for Workers Memorial Day in New Jersey (at least that I could find). I hope that next year, there will be. We live in a state where unions have taken a deep hits – from elected people in both parties. And our governor fully allies himself with the “conservative” movement to destroy unions. Safe jobs are something unions have historically pushed forward; something to remember as we rebuild after Sandy, and try to get New Jersey back on its feet.

Below the fold, a statement on Workers Memorial Day from New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech.  

Fight Back Against the Assault on Public Education: Dec. 9 Day of Action

promoted by Rosi

National Day of ActionThe assault on public education isn’t confined to Newark or Montclair or Highland Park or Camden. Not confined to Chris Christie’s New Jersey. It’s a national phenomenon and countering it will take a national pushback. The beginning of that pushback just could be Dec. 9 when a national coalition of educational, parent, community and civic groups launch “A National Day to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.”

At a teleconference yesterday, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, outlined plans for a coordinated “day of action” in cities and towns throughout the country, most of them aimed at enlisting parents and community members in the fight against the corporate takeover of public education.

“We’re reclaiming the collaboration we have always had with parents in support of all public school students,” Weingarten said. She added the National Education Association also is a partner in the effort that she hopes will be followed up by sustained efforts to keep public education well-funded and out of private control.

New Jersey organizations in the coalition include the Newark Teachers Union (NTU), the Education Law Center, and New Jersey Communities United.

Women’s Equality Day Highlights

As I reported yesterday, a group of elected officials, activists, and ordinary citizens converged on Trenton to heighten awareness of the plight of minimum wage workers and urge passage of a state-wide referendum in November to raise that wage from $7.25 to $8.25. There were about 25 speakers over the course of the hour and a quarter news conference. Here’s the highlight reel, with comments from most of the speakers, edited for time.

Latino Action Network and Allies File Amicus Brief in Gabriella Mosquera Case

Earlier this week the Latino Action Network joined with the Women’s Political Caucus, Latinas United for Political Empowerment – Political Action Committee, New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, Latino Coalition of Monmouth County, and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO to file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in In re Contest of November 8, 2011 General Election of Office of New Jersey General Assembly, Fourth Legislative District, the New Jersey Supreme Court case in which Gabriela Mosquera’s election as 4th District Assemblywoman in November 2011 is being challenged despite her having won more votes than her opponents.

On Wednesday, January 26, 2012 we heard that the Supreme Court has accepted our amicus brief.  

One of her opponents, Shelley Lovett, argues that because Ms. Mosquera moved to the 4th District 11 months prior to the election, she violated a requirement in the New Jersey Constitution that all candidates must live in their district for at least a year. However, a federal judge back in 2002 had held that provision invalid under the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. As such the Secretary of State (Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno) had told Ms. Mosquera that she could run for office, without challenge, and in fact every candidate since 2002 has been told the same thing.

We made three arguments:

The Only Time You Fail is When You Fail To Try….

….my favorite quote from all the comments posted to my question to the progressive Blue Jersey audience: “Should we try again?” on marriage equality.  I believe we have 21 votes in the Senate, but I’m not sharing names at this point for some good strategic reasons. Am talking to Steve Goldstein and to Ray Lesniak along with all of you. We hope to make a decision by the Fall on whether we move ahead now; wait for lame duck; or wait for the new January session. Will continue the discussion.