CAMDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)— The Rev. Jesse Jackson says a “toxic wind” is spreading across America, threatening the rights of teachers, firefighters and laborers.

At a rally Tuesday morning in Camden, the civil rights leader and Baptist minister kicked off a two-day tour through New Jersey to show solidarity with public workers.

He invoked the spirit of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in urging public employees not to let Gov. Chris Christie break their spirit.

Contentious negotiations between the Christie administration and the largest state workers’ union have come to a head over health benefits. Christie wants public employees to pay 30 percent of their health care premiums and has tried to use legislation to force the change.

Jackson will lead rallies Wednesday in Newark and Trenton.

Sound off in our comments section 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Watch & Listen LIVE