April 18, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Atlantic City, NJ – About 300 people, mostly city workers, marched in Atlantic City April 12 to demand that the state protect public employees’ contracts when it takes over the near-bankrupt city’s finances. Governor Chris Christie and State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Camden) are backing a bill that would let appointees of the governor unilaterally alter collective-bargaining agreements.
The New Jersey AFL-CIO, which organized the lunch-hour march along with AFSCME District Council 71, says that legislation would “strip civil service and labor protections from employees, dismantle collective bargaining, and mean many city workers would lose their jobs.” “When labor has no role, democracy has no future,” state AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech told the crowd. The unions are backing an alternative bill sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, which the AFL-CIO said would help Atlantic City “recover from the economic challenges brought about by consolidation of the casino industry without destroying collective bargaining or nullifying union contracts.” Read more