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Friday, March 19, 2010

State workers demonstrate at Park-Madison against Christie cuts

Drivers showed support of union members by honking.

Plainfield saw one of about twenty demonstrations statewide on Thursday by unionized workers protesting Gov. Christie's proposed budget cuts.

Organized by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Plainfield demonstration mobilized DYFS workers from the County Office Building at the Park-Madison site and workers from the newly opened state office at East 5th Street and Cleveland Avenue servicing clients with physical disabilities and special needs. This story is illustrated with shots I took at the scene.

About sixty workers picketed and chanted in a constant loop around the plaza and the sidewalk on Front Street to the Dunkin' Donuts shop. A smaller group stood lined at the curb's edge on Front Street, waving to passersby and motorists, many of whom showed encouragement by honking their horns.

The unions are arguing that Christie's proposed budget cuts will lead to layoffs, reduction in services and a move to outsource some of the work done by unionized employees. Saying they are being unfairly targeted, the workers also suggested that any privatization of services will result in a reduced quality of delivery.

Chris Estevez, a CWA official (also a Plainfield resident and BOE member) pointed out that Thursday's statewide demonstrations were only the first wave of an expected series, noting that the CWA is the largest state employee union, but that the NJEA -- the teachers' union -- is also expected to mount demonstrations in response to Christie's budget proposal.

Thursday's demonstrations were covered by both the Courier (here) and the Ledger (here), with a photo gallery of the Courier's Ed Pagliarini's shots online (here).

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Time for the taxpayers to mount a counter demonstration. Government workers have not been subjected to the same financial crisis as the private sector with NJ having the highest unemployment rate in the region. Nor does the average private worker see the same level of benefits as these crybabies. The State is broke. What don't they understand?

Anonymous said...

These workers do not and never will understand the current state of affairs because most of them only believe the news from their union pig representatives. Wake up people the well is dry. Goverment at all levels has to get smaller no matter what. There are services provided that only benefit a small minority of the citizens, which may be better served at another level or through private non profits or volunteer organizations. If they are lost then we most look to ourselfs to sole the problem. The passing greatest generation did what they had to do without question and that is why we have what we do have. I have been unemployed for over a year and can bearly cover my living expenses and property taxes. If it gets any worse I will have to consider leaving the state where I get less services but at least I can live. I am sixty years old and most likely if I do go back to work it will be at a salary $30,000+ less than what iwas making. If you want to stay employed take a wage cut to keep your job, which is better than having no job. In private industry I would have accepted that to keep my job but just got laid off without being offered any options.

Anonymous said...

For far too long the public has been fed lies about the poor
government workers and how they were paid so much less than those working in the private sector... Only to find out that not only are their salaries comparable , but their benefits (including pensions) greatly exceed the average private sector employee (and without the accountability or required performance). ... It's about time they faced the fiscal problems of our state and suffered along with the "real" people .

Anonymous said...

Fire them all. Hire new people with new, acceptable contracts that we can afford to pay. As far as sick and vacation time, use it or lose it. I cant carry my days over, why can they? Let them get a real job in the real world and see what its like. No contracts, no guarantees.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday's picket at the Park-Madison building helps demonstrate the number of Plainfield jobs that would be lost under Christie's budget cuts. These state workers frequent the many establishments downtown and contribute to our local economy. Plainfield has already lost over 1,000 jobs due to the closing of Muhlenberg Hospital. Drastic layoffs will hurt Plainfield's businesses even more and shift more burden on homeowners by way of higher property taxes. Not to mention that many state workers are homeowners in Plainfield and surrounding communities and laying them off will create an increase in forclosed houses, leading Plainfield farther down the road to economic distress. We need to find better solutions to our state's fiscal problems. Creating a larger pool of unemployed citizens is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

whaa whaa whaa at least yall got a jobz

Anonymous said...

If you feel like "the state is broke", had did it get that way? To blame state workers is just a tactic that Christie is using. The bottom line is that the politicians are crooks and put their own agendas first. This is a disgrace, Christie should be ashamed!Go up to Mendham where he lives and start taxing the rich, not giving them breaks.