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Tri-State Union Workers To Rally In Solidarity With Wisconsin

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New Jersey Statehouse - Trenton, NJ - File Photo

New Jersey Statehouse – Trenton, NJ (file)

diamond_feature Marla Diamond
I began my career at WCBS in the fall of 1997 as the station's New...
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TRENTON, NJ (WCBS 880 / AP) - A rally at the New Jersey Statehouse this Friday is just one of many being held across the country.

Union workers in the Garden State will hold a rally to support Wisconsin state workers, but New Jersey AFL-CIO president Charles Wowkanech draws comparisons between what’s happening in the Midwest and the state of things back east.

“This isn’t just about New Jersey. This is people all across America to stand up and fight to restore social and economic justice,” adds Wowkanech. “We’re prepared to make some concessions, but we just want an issue of fairness.”

He calls Gov. Chris Christie’s budget proposal tying property tax rebates to union givebacks divisive.

“We’re being blamed as the people that are responsible for this. You know, he’s taking advantage of this because of the economy,” Wowkanech tells WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond with a preview

Christie says he’s not trying to break the unions or do away with collective bargaining.

In New York City, union members rallied at City Hall to protest what they call Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-labor policies and declare their solidarity with workers in Wisconsin.

WCBS 880 Reporter Rich Lamb with protesters outside City Hall

As Republicans in Ohio edge back on a bill that would strip public workers of their union rights, their counterparts in Wisconsin are slogging ahead on a similar proposal.

Both bills would take away many public workers’ right to collectively bargain benefits and work conditions. Wisconsin’s preserves their right to negotiate wages, and Ohio Republicans agreed to do the same Wednesday.

In Wisconsin, the Assembly has been debating the measure since Tuesday morning, with only a few short breaks. Senate Democrats are still missing, preventing that chamber from taking up the bill.

Republicans in both states maintain the measures would limit spending by giving local governments more flexibility in dealing with workers. Democrats and unions say the bills are political attacks on Democratic allies.

Do you side with the unions or the government? Let us know below

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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