Tag Archive: AFL-CIO

Making Health Care Work for Working Families

Glad to hear Rep. Pallone talk about a public option in our health care system. Also, don’t miss the fact that the congressman’s now twittering (read through to the end). So are we. — promoted by Rosi

We’re working hard in our drive to “Make Health Care Work For New Jersey.”  Last Thursday, I was in Trenton with my good friend, AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech, where we heard from working families confronted with  America’s broken health care system. Their stories really hammered home how, now more than ever, we need comprehensive health reform.  

Hoyer and Adler talk with Labor

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Congressman John Adler attended the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Meeting tonight at the Boathouse in Pennsauken.


Adler talked about the pride he had in helping to pass the Ledbetter Fair pay act and SCHIP legislation. He talked about the need for the stimulus package.


The Majority Leader recounted his path to Congress talking about how Labor has stood with the Democrats even when the Democrats weren’t necessarily able to deliver because they shared a common belief. He stressed how impressed he has been with Congressman Adler.  Hoyer then talked about the Free Choice legislation pointing out that the House had passed it in 2006, but it couldn’t get through the Senate. He said the Congress would keep fighting for working families and thanks them for the continued support:


Unions ready to fight wage freezes

The Governor announced a 2.1 billion dollar shortfall in the state budget.  With the warning of much deeper cuts coming, this round of cuts included a proposed wage freeze of 18 months for state workers:

“We would like to negotiate a salary freeze as opposed to turning to more difficult issues, although ones that we believe we can deal with, and those are furloughs and layoffs,” Corzine said. “Layoffs are a very complicated process, take five or six months to actually get into place and are extraordinarily disruptive, but if necessary we can go there.”

The unions didn’t like the threats and vowed to fight:

“Although we will always work with the governor to find ways to both raise revenues and save money, we are not going to reopen our contracts. Those contracts were based on the principle of mutual sacrifice, with workers agreeing to make increased contributions to the cost of health care and pensions, in return for modest wage increases,” said Sheryl Gordon, executive director of AFSCME union Council 1.

“We will not reopen the contract,” said Hetty Rosenstein, CWA’s New Jersey director. “Of course we worry about layoffs, but it would be such a bad and terrible thing to do to workers during a recession, it just doesn’t make any sense. We’re so understaffed, and there’s a greater need for public services right now.”

Rae Roeder, president of CWA union Local 1033, said Corzine hasn’t shown the public any substantial proof in his first three years in office of how he trimmed government spending on things such as paid consultants and private firms.

“Bottom line, no governor is going to threaten myself or any of the workers. We’re tired of his threats and the innuendos and everything else. When the governor said, ‘This is the way it is, or else’ — or else, mister, or else maybe you ought to pack up your bag over your failed policies over the last four years and go. Maybe that’s what you should do,” Roeder said.

State workers negotiated in good faith for changes in their last contract, but it’s looking like everyone is going to feel the pain of the budget ax.  People can argue back and forth about the poor decisions that put us in this situation, but it’s where we stand.  In a case of no desirable options, many people may find themselves asking which is worse:  wage freezes or layoffs?  There are plenty of people on the unemployment rolls who would gladly have settled for a wage freeze.  With revenues continuing to tumble and our structural problems still in place, this may be the best offer they get.  

June 21 – Rally for 4,000 Casino Workers, Buses Available from Bergen County Area

In 2007, more than 4,000 casino dealers and slot technicians at four Atlantic City casinos put there jobs on the line to form a union with the United Auto Workers, and were victorious in gaining a Voice At Work. One year later, these workers are still without a contract.

On June 21, please join the Bergen County Central Trades and Labor Council, AFL-CIO, New Jersey State AFL-CIO,  AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and our union brothers and sisters from throughout the Northeast region of the U.S., as we march through Atlantic City to remind the casino owners that Atlantic City is, and will always be, a union city!  

The Bergen and Hudson County Central Labor Councils will be providing free transportation to the rally. We will be departing from the Meadowlands Sports Complex Parking Lot Y (Located Northwest of the Race Track) at 9:00 am.

Feb 1: Screening of Michael Moore’s Sicko

Join the Bergen County Central Trades and Labor Council, AFL-CIO at 7:00 pm on Friday, February 1 as we host a special screening of the award winning documentary Sicko at Englewood Public Library located at 31 Engle St in Englewood, NJ. This screening is part of the AFL-CIO’s campaign to fight for a unique American plan for secure, high-quality health care for all.

Tell NJ Legislators, ‘Pass Family Leave Insurance NOW!’

This is important. The Senate committee vote is on Monday, so contact your legislators today, especially if you’re represented by Senators Redd, Ruiz, Stack, or Cunningham. Promoted from the diaries. — Juan

Last year, Family Leave Insurance almost became a reality in New Jersey. While the bill failed to pass last legislative session, this is the farthest it had moved through the legislative process since it was first introduced in 1992. Let’s keep up the momentum to pass this important bill.

Click here to tell our Legislators, “Stop Stalling, We Need Family Leave Insurance NOW!”

On Monday, January 28, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hold hearings on Family Leave Insurance (S786). Please take a moment to send the members of the committee a letter asking them support Family Leave Insurance. This is the first step to passing this critical piece of legislation.

Letter to Editor from Bergen AFL-CIO President on Paid Family Leave

The following is a letter to the editor that appeared in the Dec 6 issue of the Bergen Record from Bergen CLC President Charlie Mattson regarding Paid Family Leave Insurance.

Misinformation on family leave

Regarding “Business community shunning family leave deal” (Business, Page B-1, Nov. 28):

The misinformation by the business community on paid family leave is astounding. This bill does not give workers any extra rights or privileges; it only adds a financial component to an already existing law. The Family and Medical Leave Act states that a covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick loved one, a newborn child or a newly adopted child.

AARP, AFL-CIO Support Paid Family Leave

Support from a coalition of organizations could boost New Jersey’s chances to become the third state granting workers paid family leave. The AARP became the latest group to join the New Jersey Partnership for Working Families – a coalition of over 60 organizations supporting paid family leave:

“AARP’s 2006 study on caregivers showed that providing better supports for family caregivers is essential to the well-being of our health care system, our long-term care system and our economy,” said Marilyn Askin, Chief Legislative Advocate for AARP New Jersey.

Phyllis Salowe Kaye, Executive director of NJ Citizen Action, summarized why family leave is so important:

“No worker should be forced to suffer a financial crisis in order to care for their ill family members.”

The legislation would allow employees to collect up to about $500/week for up to 10 weeks. Given the fierce opposition from within the business community, one might think this would impose an added financial burden on them. But the entire program would be paid for by a small deduction from worker’s paychecks.

The only real burden is that the company would be required to keep the position open for when they return to work, but Senator Sweeney – a sponsor of the legislation – has “already agreed to allow businesses with less than 50 employees to tell workers taking leave that they wouldn’t be guaranteed to keep their job after the leave. “

We’ll give AFL-CIO president Charlie Wowkanech the last word:

“New Jersey workers have overwhelmingly declared their willingness to contribute to this program in return for the security of knowing that they will be able to be there for a loved one in their time of need without fear of financial disaster…Furthermore, the experiences of both California and Washington with this policy have proven that this program not only has no negative impact on business, but leads to a healthier work environment and therefore increased productivity.”