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Christie: Public Safety Unions Taking N.J. Taxpayers To The Cleaners

Report: Workers Who Don't Need Uniforms Still Get Allowance
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N.J. Gov. Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Christine Sloan thumbnail Christine Sloan
Emmy-award winning journalist Christine Sloan joined CBS 2 News in...
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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It may be hard to imagine, but millions of your tax dollars are going to state workers as part of a clothing allowance, and many of those workers don’t even need uniforms.

There is no question that firefighters, correction officers and state troopers need uniforms for their jobs.

But a report released by the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office claims some state workers in desk jobs, who don’t need uniforms, are getting clothing allowances to go on a taxpayer-funded shopping spree.

Governor Chris Christie told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan it has cost taxpayers more than $4 million.

“You have a union that’s got into its contract a $700 a year allowance for people who don’t have to wear uniforms to work. This only happens in New Jersey, Christine. It’s crazy,” Christie said. “That’s why these collective bargaining discussions are going to be tough and adversarial, because I’m tired of public safety unions taking taxpayers to the cleaners.”

The union representing state workers is blasting the report, saying: “The comptroller’s report is inaccurate and misleading. Public workers who receive a modest clothing stipend have been carefully negotiated on a job-by-job basis…

“Many wear uniforms, many others need the right clothing to do what are often dangerous and dirty jobs.”

Like in nursing and labs.

“We don’t get a clothing allowance. I don’t get one and I am a CWA member,” one worker said.

“I think the state of everything that’s going on, I don’t think it’s necessary,” said Jersey City resident Kristyn Grimaldi.

“I don’t think desk job workers should have a stipend unless there’s a specific need to protect public,” added Gary Derogatis of Atlantic Uniforms.

Most of the people Sloan talked to said they understand correction officers getting uniforms. The governor said in the next negotiations he’ll make sure he gets the clothing allowance for desk workers out.

The union representing state workers said clothing allowances for workers was negotiated during another Republican administration — former Gov. Tom Kean’s.

Does this bother you? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.


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