Tag Archive: layoffs

The @starledger’s Reformy Fantasyland

Cross-posted with Jersey Jazzman.

I really can’t tell you how grateful I am to have Bob Braun blogging; for a while there, it felt like I was the only one who cared to point out that the Star-Ledger, Bob’s former paper, was writing education editorials that were both massively ignorant and callously dismissive of the needs of children in New Jersey’s cities.

Bob’s skewering of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board (SLEB) includes a history lesson on the civil actions that led us to the segregated apartheid schools we have today. This is a history of which the Star-Ledger’s editorial writers remain blissfully, willingly ignorant. They foolishly continue to believe the primary issue in urban education today isn’t segregation or adequate funding, but teacher quality:  

Is Chris Christie tone deaf? Or so arrogant he doesn’t even give a crap?

Epic public relations FAIL.

And botched Jersey exceptionalism, from the Jersey governor. He’s in Indiana today, whooping it up there and in Wisconsin for GOP candidates in both states. Today’s schedule includes an Indiana distribution center for Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefits company whose merger with Medco Health earlier this year cost New Jersey 258 jobs.

igcv9udhZkjACost New Jersey 258 jobs. In a state with 9.9% unemployment, way above the nation’s average, a state with jobless rates among the highest in the U.S..

10%? Higher? Tomorrow we find out September numbers for NJ’s jobless rate, with a forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia that the rate will climb to 10%.

Somebody on Christie’s staff is not serving him well. Or else, his arrogance and self-pumpery has grown to the point that he just doesn’t give a fig. Or a crap.

Bergen County, heads-up: 244 of those jobs were yours. Layoffs of 216 people were at Medco Health Solutions in Franklin Lakes, the workplace for those New Jerseyans before Medco merged with the company Christie visits today. Another 28 used to work at 2 Medco facilities, in Montvale and Fair Lawn. That wraps up as one of Bergen County’s biggest single layoff announcements this year.

Red-flags (mostly) from Dems: That was July. In March, the NJ Assembly voted 53-16-2 for a resolution urging Christie to oppose the Express Scripts-Medco merger.

Today, Christie is with Mike Pence, syndicated radio host now GOP congressman who is running for governor. This guy.  

When All Else Fails… Lie. Christie Claims NJN Workers Not Entitled To Severance Pay

promoted by Rosi

After handing NJN Workers 45 day layoff notices, in another cruel twist of the knife, Chris Christie has followed that up by refusing to recognize the state’s contractual obligations to NJ Public Workers entitlement to the Displaced Workers Pool (4 months severance pay) outlined in their contract.

Mr. Christie might want to head back to law school for a contract law refresher or hire some lawyers who can read a contract and amendments before making claims that are false.

Follow link below for citation


Displaced Worker Pool

Given the tendency for documents like these to be written in mind-numbing legalese, the text of this document is actually pretty plain.

continue reading below the fold

Hypocritical Tears

I saw the footage yesterday where Gov. Christie was discussing the Clementi suicide.  During the conversation the governor welled up with tears as he related to his own 17 year old child and the unimaginable pain the Clementi family must be enduring.  I don’t doubt for a minute the governor’s tears were not real.  Imagining the torture and suffering of a child that lead to a suicide is unimaginable.

The Star Ledger had one of the best editorials – http://blog.nj.com/njv_editori… – I have ever read today.  The editorial calls for unequivocal equality, including marriage and military.  Two issues that the party of the fastest rising star within the GOP enjoy using as wedge issues to keep religious fanatics voting for them.

The governor must live in some parallel universe.  Why can’t he imagine his children living in the inner city.  Why can’t he imagine his child living in a public housing project with a very young, single mother.  A neighborhood where violence and drug use are the norm.  A neighborhood where dropping out of school is more normal than graduating.  Instead of trying to correct the social problems of this neighborhood, our governor wants to privatize social programs and schools, while demonizing teachers.  He sheds no tears for these kids.

Why can’t the governor imagine his child is poor and lives in the south or the midwest.  This child decides to join the military, because it offers the only job opportunity currently available in a recession, caused by Wall Street and bank thieves that the GOP placates to.   The only problem with this job opportunity is that it was made up.  It was a big lie fabricated to pursue twisted ideology. Thousands of these kids have returned home in flag draped coffins.   Gov. Christie is “touring” the country, stumping for candidates, in appreciation for the guy who appointed him to his last job and to further this ideology.  He sheds no tears for these kids.

Why can’t the governor imagine his child was an Atlantic City police officer.   An officer that managed to graduate high school, with the help of a teacher who is now unemployed due to layoffs.  An officer that got the job fair and square, through civil service.  An officer that was patrolling neighborhoods to make them safe, so that other children could escape the drugs and violence.  An officer that was patrolling the streets and keeping order to maintain and improve the tourism business.  An officer that was making a good wage so that she could raise her own children and provide them with a safe, comfortable home.  This officer was laid off yesterday.  He sheds no tears for these kids.

Government Extortion

Although I am not a fan or even casual reader of The Trentonian, I happened to catch an article today  


about how the Ewing Township PBA have filed a lawsuit against Ewing Township for extortion.

I  applaud the Ewing PBA for the action.  Christie has made it fashionable to threaten public employees with layoffs in order to extort concessions from contract obligations.

Here is how it works.  A municipality will have a multi-million dollar shortfall because Christie stole all of our income and sales tax money that should have been legally redistributed to municipalites for tax relief.  A lot of mayors take this opportunity to extort concessions from union contracts by threatening mass layoffs.  Instead of being honest and moral, the mayor will threaten to layoff dozens of cops (reducing labor costs by hundreds of thousands), but will accept a wage freeze or change in benefits only reducing labor costs by tens of thousands. It is another case of being intellectually dishonest, which is Christie’s forte. A lot of mayor’s now enjoy the accepted practice of being intellectually dishonest and immoral.

I enjoyed Senator Weinberg’s diary about the governor being a hypocrite.  This is another example.  Can one imagine if the governor entered into a contract with a carpenter to have his kitchen remodeled, only to have the carpenter come back half way through the job with a bunch of excuses or hardball maneuvers as to why he now wanted more money or otherwise change the contract?

Christie is advocating union busting as a means to an end.  Instead of tackling the main problem which is an overpopulation of municipalities and taxing authorities, he chooses to continue the class warfare and anti-labor theme.  He is just hurting the citizenry.

Christie: I was wrong

It’s interesting to see that after the swagger of the campaign, Chris Christie is realizing he has to honor contracts after all. You see, when unions agreed last year to take unpaid furloughs and put off a raise for 18 months, they obviously had to get something in return. That something was a “no layoff pledge” with teeth:

Christie said he was “wrong” in previously claiming that he would not be “bound by” the contract struck between unions and former Gov. Jon Corzine last June. The agreement called for 10 unpaid furlough days while deferring a wage increase in exchange for a no-layoff pledge through December 2010. It means two 3.5 percent wage increases are scheduled to take effect in the upcoming budget year, one in July and one in January.

No doubt Christie will try to drive a very hard bargain on the next contract, but Corzine did a good job in re-opening an existing contract, where he had traded pay increases for state workers having to pay for health care. When Corzine then wanted to take away the pay increases, he saved the state money while properly negotiating with the unions. Josh Zeitz puts it more unkindly:

“Chris Christie should be thanking Jon Corzine for saving him money,” Zeitz said. “It’s not Jon Corzine’s fault that he doesn’t understand the job … He should try negotiating.”

Another question is whether Christie knew he was wrong all along? I bet he did, his budget stories never held up to scrutiny, but after all, it worked. For unkindness and hilarity, let me go this time to conservative Rick Shaftan:


Where things stand on furloughs

The court of appeals ruled yesterday upholding the ability of state and local governments to furlough public employees:

“Given the economic crisis confronting the state and nation, and the fluid and rapidly unfolding circumstances in which we live, we find the statement of ‘imminent peril’ to be sufficient,” the panel of three state appellate judges said in its decision.

You can view the full ruling here. But Michael Symons pointed out that it wasn’t a complete vindication for the Governor and talked about the split decision:

But the ruling wasn’t a complete win for the Corzine administration, as the judges also expressed concern that the sections of the rule allowing the temporary layoffs to be staggered, rather than done department-wide in one fell swoop, might not be appropriate because they change work conditions without negotiations with workers. The court put such furloughs – which are planned by almost all state departments, to at least a small degree – on hold while the Public Employment Relations Commission hears the matter.

Corzine praised the ruling, saying furloughs are preferable to layoffs.  The unions praised the part of the ruling questioning the staggered temporary layoffs.

State furloughs are scheduled to begin in three weeks for this budget year. But then we’ll go through the process again. Whether it’s a negotiating tactic or not, the Governor now says that unless union accepts 12 furlough days in the upcoming year and a wage freeze, he will be forced to lay off 9,000 state workers. That’s up from the original number of 7,000 layoffs. The union still feels they are being scapegoated and plan to fight those efforts it appears. They say the governor should focus more on the wealthy and negotiate with the unions:

“We’re in serious financial straits, but that doesn’t give the state the right to single out the people who serve the public as it looks for savings,” Rosenstein said.

Three months after we’ve started the furlough discussion with the state in even worse financial shape, it feels like groundhog day with each side saying the same thing.  The Governor says he has two options, furloughs or layoffs. The union says no to both and there are more options to explore. I think we’re going to see even further cuts across the board with revenues coming in below even lowered projections. They’re playing chicken with the future of many people and it still doesn’t seem like either side is willing to blink. We’re less than two months from the budget deadline

Legislators will furlough, Union will fight, Corzine looks at rebates

There’s lots of news on the balancing the budget front today. More people are jumping on the furlough bandwagon:

Senate President Richard J. Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. today agreed to honor Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s call for a two-day furlough of employee salaries in the legislative branch to close the mounting gap in the state FY 2009 budget.

Under Corzine’s plan, employees would be required to take one furlough day in May and one in June to help close the gap in the current budget.

Codey (D-Essex) and Roberts (D-Camden) said they will furlough the Senate and Assembly majority and minority offices in accordance with Corzine’s plan.

They said they will also direct the Office of Legislative Services to do the same, while also directing the clerks of each legislative house to research how Senate and Assembly members can furlough two-days of pay and apply the two-day furlough to their district offices.

Their staff are at-will, so they won’t have much say in the matter.  Corzine’s plan to furlough state workers on the other hand seems to be facing a fight:

Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey state director for the Communications Workers of America, said the CWA will file an unfair labor practice complaint with the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission.

“We think that in fact in our contract we have negotiated an annual wage. We think they need to respect that contract, and the furlough is in fact a violation of that,” Rosenstein said. “They’re going to try to pretend it’s a layoff. Our attorney doesn’t think you can gimmick your way out of it.”

The governor has indicated layoffs may be the next option.  With or without the furlough, more action will need to be taken to close what is now a $3.6 billion budget deficit.  The Governor’s office is apparently now turning to the property tax rebate program:

The governor has repeatedly said all options, including rebates, are on the chopping block as he tries to balance New Jersey’s finances, though he has so far declined to discuss rebates specifically. But behind the scenes, discussions on how to trim the rebates are occurring daily, the sources said, because there are very few budget areas left to cut that could save hundreds of millions of dollars.

Everyone is going to feel the pain.  Just because no one is going to be happy with the hard choices that have to be made, doesn’t mean we don’t have to make them.  Legislators will have a hard time giving up those rebate checks, but if they don’t want them to bounce, they may not have a choice.  It’s going to be a long budget season.  What do you think the state should do?