Gov. Christie Responds To Public Union Support Poll

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS 2) — As those protests continue in Wisconsin, there’s new evidence unions still have a strong foundation of support.

According to a new CBS News-New York Times poll, Americans surveyed oppose weakening the unions’ collective bargaining rights by a margin of almost two to one: 60 to 30 percent.

wisconsin public unions Gov. Christie Responds To Public Union Support Poll

Thousands of protesters rally at Wisconsin's legislature on Feb. 19, 2011 (credit: Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images)

Some states are trying to take away some of the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. Do you favor or oppose taking away some of the collective bargaining rights of these unions?” the poll asked.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said collective bargaining rights are not an issue in his state.

“I understand you guys, it’s an entertaining story and you want to keep it going, so I’m sure you worded a poll in a way that kept it going.” Christie said.

What do you think? Leave a comment below

Respondents were also asked “In order to reduce state budget deficits, do you favor or oppose cutting the pay or benefits of public employees?” The poll also showed 56 percent oppose cutting public employees’ pay or benefits in order to reduce state budget deficits, while 37 percent support that approach.

The CBS poll also found that by a margin of almost two to one, 40 to 22 percent, respondents prefer increasing taxes over cutting state workers’ benefits to cut state deficits. The other choices were “decrease financing for roads and public transportation,” “decrease financing for education,” and “no opinion.”

In New Jersey, that sentiment was even more pronounced when it comes to taxing the wealthy. A staggering 72-percent of those surveyed in a new New Rutgers-Eagleton poll support increasing the so-called millionaires’ tax to help close New Jersey’s nearly $11-billion budget deficit.

Christie, who vetoed that measure last year, said he knows best what the state wants.

“I’m the governor. I think I got a better idea on public opinion in my state than CBS News does,” Christie said.

  • Matt

    Turn Jersey blue again next election!

  • Jo Willie

    christie passed anit collective barganing executive order on jan 20 2010
    he layed off 8 federal job training union workers from vineland one stop with a fake budget shortfall
    he has no job creation plan and will no go with taxation for the med marijuana law
    he wont tax his big shot buddies but want all public service workers to fight amongst each other for pennies in savings I would like to see a recall on him and workers to stage a general strike in NJ

    • Jamie

      i’m all for a general strike myself. i’m surprised no one else has spoken of one yet.

  • Robert Senn

    unions have always been great in protecting the worker but sometimes they are hurting the membership by doing thingsagainst the very people that pays the dues likr the union that represents the food store workers they made a deal with the owners of the big supermarkets to onley hire part time workers thats great for the union but not the employee union gets twice the dues employee gets the shaft also what happens to the benifit money the employee puts in then he quits is it split uf between union and supermarket

  • Maria

    Christie’s an ass and a bully

  • Joe

    In the not so distant past it seems the culture of many American men and women has changed from”I’m willing to stand up and fight for what I believe in, a safer work place, better wages and more job and retirement securities to a “crabs in a bucket mentality” If I have to wake up every morning and leave the house before my kids wake up and get home after they go to sleep, if I don’t get to have a relationship with my wife/husband and if my blood pressure sky rockets every time I think about asking my boss for a raise…. then you should to.
    My question to you is, why don’t you join the labor movement, and fight for what you and your families deserve. For the last 100 years union men and women have fought and died for better working conditions, health care, 40 hour work weeks, lunch breaks, pension and job security. Why don’t you think you deserve that.

    • standonyourown2feet

      i have nothing against private sector unions, the ibew is great, i don’t believe in collective bargaining for government workers.s

    • standonyourown2feet

      your assumption here joe is that all people in the private sector are not happy. believe me, I for one do not want to work for government. the fact is government workers are simply civil servants with a job to do. the job pays what it pays, if you don’t like it, leave, we can hire someone else. the idea of the job is not to make you, the worker, happy. this is not a social welfare case. you have a service to provide the public, again, if you don’t like the pay, then leave. we do not need to collective bargain with you. the idea is to get the best value for your money, just like any other business transaction.

      • Joe

        StandOnYourOwn, I understand not all employees want or need to be protected by a collective bargaining agreement, and I my self am not a government employee. But I am however a union worker with the IBEW and understand the benefit of a contract. In any field I have ever worked, I have been appreciated for my work ethic and drive to educate myself, It is my personal opinion that the ability to collectively bargain, greatly improves my ability to work with an employer that guarantees me fair wage standards, and protected working conditions. In return I offer experience, efficiency and a honest days work for which I am compensated.

  • johnny

    That poll is garbage and certainly biased. The only people that believe they should get a raise are union members.

    • aj man528

      union yes. Without unions and bargining rights you get whatever the employer wants to give you. Without unions to bargin for a fair prevailing wage, ALL wages will decrease even the wages of non union workers. Longer work days Less pay that sounds good to the GOP

  • CL

    Facts and data from surveys mean nothing to Christie. He’s into confrontation, demonizing and being combative.

  • duder

    So when you increase taxes on the rich so much that they move themselves or their money to another state, you’ll be left with public employees and welfare recipients. Won’t that be fun?

    • tony tiger

      well they’re pretty much shielded from you now in gated communities anyway, hot shot

  • nathan

    “I’m the governor. I think I got a better idea on public opinion in my state than CBS News does,” Christie said….hold on….”Im the governor. I think Ill do whatever the hell I what to further my political ambitions.” … there, fixed it.

  • jerseyjoey

    Oh Boy, You state workers are kidding right???? No raise in 4 Years WHAWHAWHAWHAWHAAAAAAAAAAAAA WhinningWhinning Idiots. Wel you turds i have had a raise in the last 4 years everytime i buy something or pay my property taxes, and its partly your faults for being GREEDY.

  • Michelle

    At one time the public workers were given security and benefits as a way to compensate for lesser pay. That’s not so true today – yes, salaries aren’t quite what they are in the private sector but then again if you compare hour to hour of actual work and the cost of benefits you’ll see that the public workers have it much better than their private counterparts hand have had it better for quite some time now.

    I can’t remember when I worked 40 hours a week – 50 to 60 is the norm today. I don’t get OT, I don’t get essentially free benefits, I don’t get to carry over sick time from year to year because I don’t get sick time, I don’t get job security. What I do get is no pension, a salary reduction nearly every year just to keep my job, no job security, less and less insurance coverage, higher and higher out of pocket benefit expenses and higher and higher taxes. Yet I’m grateful for what I do have… a job with some benefits. I find it hard to believe that public workers are outraged by having to kick in the way the private sector has been for well over a decade now.

    TImes are tough for everyone – get over it.

    • Joe

      I am very sorry you feel that way, I believe with every fiber of my being that you as a worker deserve so much more then what you are given. Your work ethic and determination would honor any union worth its salt.

  • Josh

    To balance a budget, there are 2 choices: Cut spending or increase revenues. Christie has already cut services and there is still a deficit. This leaves NJ and every other state with a deficit little choice, but to raise taxes on those who can afford it. Asking the wealthy to pay their fair share is common sense and the right thing to do. The general public has made their sacrifice through higer gas, tolls, sales taxes, etc… Ask the wealthy to pony up because their communities need them to do so. Let’s see how patriotic the wealthy (GOP) really are.

  • Josh

    To balance a budget, there are 2 choices: Cut spending or increase revenues. Christie has already cut services and there is still a deficit. This leaves NJ and every other state with a deficit little choice, but to raise taxes on those who can afford it. During the Reagan and Bush administrations, we have seen the largest transfers of wealth to the highest income earners than in any other time in our history. And where has it gotten us? To larger deficits. Asking the wealthy to pay their fair share is common sense and the right thing to do. The general public has made their sacrifice through higer gas, tolls, sales taxes, etc… Ask the wealthy to pony up because their communities need them to do so. Let’s see how patriotic the wealthy (GOP) really are.

  • mark

    Unhappy state employee is right about Christie as far as I’m concerned, he is a turd. A very arrogant turd in my opinion. His fifteen minutes will hopefully be over quite soon.

    • njpro

      Really a thoughtful, classy comment. Go back to bed, you idiot.

  • Gene Poole

    Should public employees be exempt from paying into their pensions? This question lacks sufficient information for the respondent to make a informed decision as how to respond. Is this an example of the Polls being used to gain support for the Unions? I hope not, but the liberal media’s support of Obama and democrats leads me to believe it may be biased.

    • Josh

      What’s biased about it? Over 80% agree that gov’t employees SHOULD be contributing. This includes Democrats as well as Republicans. Put your money where your mouth is instead of sticking your foot in it.
      Explain the bias… I double dare you!

    • Michael H.

      The poll questions are quoted in the article you failed to read. Go read it.

  • unhappy state employee

    i am a state employee and christie is a turd. im sorry i voted for him. i have not had a raise in 4 years while everything from gas to food is going up. my employment stated taking 1.5% of my pay out to pay for health cost \s last years. It boils do to i am making 1.5% less than i made 4 years ago while everything is going up. i cant take it anymore

    • moon

      How is this Christie’s fault. He’s just trying to save you job.

      • Michael H.

        Christie could do the right thing and raise taxes a few percent on those that can afford it.

    • Leslie

      1.5% of your pay for health care? Boo hoo!

  • jerseyjoey

    Phil , there is one HUGE difference on your comment, teachers are paid in taxed moneys to begin with so they are paying taxes on taxed money from US the True American people who carry the wieght of all these overpaid lazy whinning candy arse spoiled public employees, oh and did i mention UNGRATEFULL public employees that should be thanking God they have such wonderfull jobs to begin with. No one owes any of these workers anything least job security, they could all be working for Walmart if they dont wise up and these are the educated ones DUH

  • JB

    Both union and non-union labor are natural allies. Classic divide and conquer tatic of the rich to avoid paying their fair share. A millionares tax. Great idea. If you can keep the middle class fighting each other you can keep that idea from being discussed. Christie and the others are in the rich boy’s pocket. Tax breaks for the rich and beat down the working man. I guess they got what they paid for. United we stand.

  • Mike 2

    In light of massive loss in employment (I was layed off 2 years ago), no increase in wages and reduction in wages iin the private sector, unionized workers need to make some sacrifices to get our state out of debt. The notion is that their wages and benefits are “off the table” is inconsistent with the unions’ principle of “fair treatment”. This “great recession” means a “Great reset!!!” All this said, I would not support taking away the rights of union employees to collective bargaining. They simply need to join in to the sacrifice pool.

    • Mike

      I agree Mike 2. I work for the federal government. My raise this year is 0%. Next Year it is 0% since Obama froze them My Federal Department (HUD) cut its spending this year 1.5% and is on pace to cut another 1% next year. As I said before, the problem is that you can’t close the federal debt with asking defense to cut their budget. The defense dept eats up 50%-55% of the federal budget, but if you ask them to cut, you are called “‘weak on terrorism” and you “do not support our troops.” Do we need another 3 billion $$$ aircraft carrier when we have 15 already with no other country with even one??? The labor unions in our state must also face the ax. The local level is where the real waste is!!!

  • Earl Grey

    These pensions are not funded with the “state’s money”, they are part of the wages of the workers. If Gov. Walker wants to change the terms of the pensions for Wisconsin workers, what he is doing is cutting their pay.

    Pensions are a sort of “insurance policy” that pays a set income to the workers in retirement. Actuaries project how long workers are expected to live and determine how much needs to be invested into the program to provide that funding.

    Just like with insurance, you have to pay the “premium” in full every year and the money has to be invested in instruments that make a certain interest rate to make the math work out. The state is responsible for administering the fund by paying in the money (just like the employer portion of FICA – a predicatble amount that is part of every worker’s pay) and investing the money so that there will be enough money in the fund to pay BACK to the workers when they become eligible for it.

    A “premium” (annual payment) of $100 a year for 20 years that is invested at, say, 5% yields $3,300 to pay out to the worker. If you are the one responsible for “paying the premium” AND making the investments, you can do something like project an investment yield of 8%, which lowers the “premium” (annual payment) to $72 per year, also ending up with $3,300 at the end of 20 years. You also get to “save” $28 per year for every employee in the program.

    This exactly what states all over the US have been doing. They invest in riskier instruments that promise higher yields, reduce the annual money paid into the fund (on behalf of the workers) and “pocket” the difference as a “budget reduction”.

    The trouble comes in if you guess wrong on the investment side. Many states have run into this exact problem, especially since the financial meltdown of 2007.

    Now, the future value of these pensions are not enough to meet the future obilgations and the states are having to pitch BACK in the shortfall.

    This problem was not caused by the workers, it was caused by unbsuccessful investment decisions made by the state.

    The workers covered under these pensions are also “taxpayers” and will share in these losses, just like everyone else, but why should they be MORE responsible for state obilgations that any other taxpayer?

    • njpro

      You made a good argument until you got to the part about it’s the state’s fault. Actually, it’s the fault of the democratice leadership of the state who gave away ridiculous favors to the unions so that they could get re-elected. And the voters (read: workers, citizens, common people) said they don’t want that anymore and voted out the demorats who caused the problems.
      Now, to use the words of The One: “elections have consequences” and “we won” and “republicans should go to the back of the bus” ( racist remark if there ever was one!). I guess the people of WI didn’t like that approach to leadership.

    • Genie


  • Phil

    Teachers are taxpayers too.

  • Fred B. Taxpayer

    I do believe that the majority of the public does not want to economically harm our teachers or our public employees. They provide a vital service to our communities and deserve a livining wage and ability to bargain in good faith for themselves. Governor Christie and others are vilifying these workers to press their economic agenda which does not favor the common man but enriches the wealthy and powerful who should man up in this time of crisis and pay their fair share to solve this crisis which they created.

  • Jim

    I can’t find a link to the actual poll. If you look at the list of CBS/NYT polls you will see how slanted they are. I’m calling BS on this one.

  • Sam

    Guess we are heading back to those confrontational days of yore? We still haven’t been awaken to the fact that Asians are taking our jobs away because we’re too set on high-flying vs. fair wages, when the Asians and Mexicans are killing us because their wages etc. are much lower than us. We must now somehow get competitive (just ask the Detroit auto workers). No more $2,00 football or baseball tickets because it’ll fuel your complain about not having enough $$ to make ends meet. Don’t you know, every time the Steinbrenners have to pay a B-Rod $8 million a season, they just add their costs to the ticket? There’s one born every minute, they say.

    • Genie

      Thank you Sam, I thought I was the only one who recognized the ridiculous amount of money certain sport people get. However, as usual the working people get slanted. Something is very wrong with this picture

  • mike

    I don’t believe those polls numbers. Who did they poll? The protestors in Wisconsin? If they had asked me, I would have told them that public workers should not have the same union capabilities as labor groups. Public workers work for those who pay them, which are the taxpayers. The taxpayers are sick and tired of paying for leeches that can’t be fired. Enough is enough.

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