As reported by nj.com, leaders of police and firefighter unions slammed Governor Chris Christie at a rally outside the Statehouse on March 3, 2011.
Bill Lavin, president of the New Jersey Firefighter’s Mutual Benevolent Association, said Christie loves police and firefighters, but hates the unions because “he hates your voice.” Lavin said the Governor wants to take away hard-earned benefits for police and firefighters, then deliver the eulogies at their funerals. In response to Christie calling the rally a “me-first rally” at a press conference, Lavin said he agrees with the Governor’s assessment of the event. “I agree with him,” he said. “Every time the bell rings, every time shots are fired, you people say, ‘me first, I go in first.’ ”
The rally was expected to draw a crowd of more than 8,000, but Lavin said he was told the crowd was in excess of 15,000.
The president of Lakewood PBA, Gary Przewoznik, said he was on his way to a PBA meeting to tell Lakewood officers that jobs had been saved through a compromise with the township when he got the call that Officer Christopher Matlosz had been shot. “The assassination of Chris Matlosz served as a reminder to all of us that our jobs are vital to our communities,” he said. “We are the good guys.”
Christie blamed the unions for cuts in public safety, citing examples in Camden and Newark where unions could have made concessions to save jobs. The governor said it is the unions’ civil rights to protest. When asked what effect such rallies have on his decision-making, Christie said, “Zero. Absolutely Zero.”