As reported by nj.com, the largest state employee unions in New Jersey are organizing a rally at the Statehouse on February 25, 2011 to express support for workers rallying in Wisconsin. The Communication Workers of America, which represents most of the state’s employees, will participate in the rally and National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will address the crowd. The rally is organized by the AFL-CIO and supported by the Change to Win unions and the National Education Association.
“We are all Wisconsin public workers this week,” Hetty Rosenstein, CWA state director, said in a statement. “They’re trying to blame middle class workers for the financial mess that Wall Street caused. It’s more politics as usual and we’re ready to fight back.”
Wisconsin state employees have staged large rallies at the Madison capitol to protest a move by Governor Scott Walker to eliminate collective bargaining for most employees, except police officers and firefighters. Walker has said the changes are needed to balance the budget. The move would allow collective bargaining only for wages, but wages would be capped to growth equal to changes in the Consumer Price Index.
Governor Chris Christie has expressed support for Walker, saying he understands the need to make bold steps to balance a budget. Christie, who made national headlines fighting with the teachers union last year, will have his own time to do battle with the unions this year. Contracts for most of the state’s employees expire this year. Christie has said he looks forward to collective bargaining, saying he will be “vigorous and adversarial” during the process.