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

Report: Workers Who Don't Need Uniforms Still Get Allowance

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.

More from Christine Sloan
  • M.A.D

    Get rid of the Unions.

    • Vienna Joe

      The inflated salaries of corporate executives are costing the middle class in the way of excessive prices on purchased goods as well as less return on investments due to corporate bonuses, golden parachutes, etc.. Pay corporate executives the same lower middle class wages that union workers are paid. If the CEO’s don’t like it, let them quit … there are plenty of competent people who will happily take a position as a CEO at a ‘normal’ wage.

  • Danny DD

    Public employees form unions just as they participate in a religion. When they get too big they deman unreal paid and make tax payers suck up all cost. Let get real, cap the size of the union be it 1000 or 2,500, then let them compete for with each other for pay rate and work performance, you will see that we can save trememdous money for the tax payers.

    • Vienna Joe

      Danny, are you sure you aren’t really Chris Christie? Your hatred for the hard working middle class as well as your fabulous use of the English language is a dead ringer for “The Fried Dough Governor”.

  • ted

    I need suits for my jobs and I’m not paid what these clowns are making. Where is the justice?

  • the truth

    you’re misguided…the problem is excessive spending not inadequate taxes…until the government demonstrates an ability/willingness to cut spending drastically, no one should be asked to pay more to these “drunken sailors”.

  • Josh

    Amazing how Gov. Christie was elected nearly 18 months ago, yet each week he uncovers some new information about how public service unions are the real culprits behind NJ’s fiscal woes. It’s like OJ looking for the real killers.
    Maybe NJ wouldn’t have these problems if people like Christie and the wealthiest 1% paid just a little bit more in taxes. I assure you, they won’t go broke, they will still own multiple homes, go on glorious vacations and buy fancy toys. Why should they pay more? Because their gov’t needs them to.

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