TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Wisconsin state workers protesting a move to severely curtail their collective bargaining rights have found allies in New Jersey.

Workers yelled “We will not back down, we will not give up, this is a fight for all working Americans,” 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

Thousands of protesters rally at Wisconsin's legislature (credit: MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Public workers and union sympathizers turned out for a unity rally at the New Jersey Statehouse on Friday, despite the inclement weather. It’s being hosted by the AFL-CIO.

New Jersey AFL-CIO president Charles Wowkanech said labor leaders view Wisconsin as ground zero in their fight to preserve collective bargaining.

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

He called 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 told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to end nearly all bargaining with public employee unions to help balance the state budget. Overnight, the Wisconsin State Assembly approved a bill that would take collective bargaining rights away from most public employees.

However that measure still has to pass the Wisconsin Senate, and Democratic members of that body remain in hiding.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has proposed raising the retirement age and requiring public workers to pay more for pension and health benefits. But the first-term Republican says he supports “responsible” collective bargaining..

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (32)
  1. Sandra Zylberman says:

    How disgusting it is that the Tea Party/GOP governors across our nation are claiming that the only way to fix our deficits is to do it on the backs of the working men and women in our country. Where were these cretins three years ago when Bush and Wall Street put this nation on the verge of financial ruin? And why do they insist that those who got us there should continue to pay the lowest taxes they have in over 30 years? We cannot allow ourselves to be manipulated by these thieves and assassins, and need to speak and fight back to insure that the middle class maintains a strong voice and the power to elect leaders who will put our country back to work and economic recovery.

  2. James J. Nichols says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am a Deputy Chief with the New York City Fire Department with over 3 decades of faithful service. Being a firefighter is an extremely dangerous and unhealthy occupation. We are extremely well trained, highly motivated, and dedicated to public service. When you visit Fire Department headquarters you are greeted in the lobby with a large wall on your right with the names of hundreds of members of the NYC Fire Department that have given their lives in the line of duty. Where in the private sector do we have walls like this? Who in the private sector would you compare a firefighter to? A Firefighter in NYC doesn’t go to work, he goes to war. Firefighters get killed doing what they do.
    Oh, by the way, we belong to a public sector union. Every firefighter and police officer killed on 9/11 belonged to a public sector union. Back then we were called “heroes” now we are portrayed as a bunch of thieves due to our pay, pensions and benefits. I guess enough time has gone by since 9/11 to get away with this disgusting portrayal. Please stop painting all public sector union members with the same broad brush. Some of us are different and some of us are very, very special and certainly have earned our pay, pensions and benefits.

    James J. Nichols
    Deputy Chief FDNY

  3. Toussain says:

    John, businesses do take public tax dollars. Qualitative Easing was over $700 billion. Corporations receive subsidies, tax breaks, and abatements in the billions at the state and federal level. Walker’s move isn’t one about economics; it’s about power. Tax payers have suffered because of corporate greed and corruption. Between the engineered toxic mortgage crisis, reckless tax cuts for the wealthiest, and endless war, the American middle class tax payer has shouldered the wait of these losses. Go down 5th Avenue on the upper east side of NYC, or stroll through downtown Greenwich, CT, or drive through Beverly Hills and you will not see real evidence of the recession. How it is that teachers unions are to blame for the mess we’re in takes the proverbial cake.


    First they told you that the immigrants were the cause of all your trouble, now they say it’s the public workers, just find someone to hate and you’ll feel better. Unions built this country, they protect you and your children, raise the standard of living, make the workplace safe, fight injustice, and teach your children. Greed is the cause of your trouble, the Madoffs and the former businessmen in the SEC, who were letting him steal, the Iceland bankers who bancrupted their country, the Bush’s and their Saudi family friends who turned a government surplus into a catastrophic deficit, the corporations who moved your jobs to foreign countries and hide their profits offshore. What does it take to learn, how many times must you be duped. Don’t worry, 2012 is coming and all the scammers will be out on their ear!

  5. Robert Senn says:

    now let me get this straighta few union people in nj want all of us to pay all of there pension and benifits if they would of contribited some in the beginning we would not be like this now they want us to pay back what they didnot pay in to build up a reserve for them to retire what about the poor people who have contributwed all these years do they get there money back

  6. dave seda says:

    I’ll be back with more of my head-in-the-sand nonsense. Right now I’m on one of my several union-sanctioned breaks.

  7. libertyrules says:


    For some 70 years now, the Middle Class has supported our tax base—Federal, State and Local. The rich work overtime finding creative ways (hiring tax attorneys and hiding money overseas) to avoid paying taxes. Thus, without a large, well compensated middle class we are in big trouble.

    In the private sector, middle class jobs have been automated, outsourced and off-shored. That can’t be done in the public sector—where teachers, fire fighters and police are needed here, not in China & India.

    There was once an old adage: as goes General Motors…so goes the nation. Well, today, as goes the Middle Class, so goes the nation and democracy (with it). And the Middle Class has been buzz sawed. Pretty soon the agendas of the Republican and Democrat parties will be identical and kowtowing the wishes of the rich. And Liberty will be dead (as dead as Patrick Henry).

    1. Alejandro Arango says:

      Are you stupid “to avoid paying taxes” the top 1% pay nearly 40% of all income taxes collected byt the feds. The bottom 50% pay nothing, that’s a shame if the bottom should pay something. Even if it’s only 1%

      1. dave seda says:

        that’s the difference between poor and rich. why should someone who makes 40,000+ a year have to be poor to protect you, teach your kid, collect your garbage, treat your water. The riches wealth has increased over 20 percent since 2000. while the middle class has decreased, what did you forget that american tax dollar bailed out the banks? we should of let them bail themselves out and let the smaller banks take over. What did you forget that the debt in this country is cause by mr. bush and his fake war. A war we should of never had. We have millionaires siding with the middle class, so wake up.

      2. ThomasJ says:

        You mentioned “the top 1% pay nearly 40% of all income taxes collected byt the feds”.

        Do you think that it is justifiable ? Why not 40% pay the 40% of all income taxes ?
        Why there is a disparity in the distribution of wealth ? And why should anyone
        accommodate that ?

        Do you think you felt proud when you stated “the top 1% pay nearly 40% of all income taxes” ? Isn’t it a pity, after all ?

        Do you also think those 1% paid 40% of taxes, just because they are any
        more wise, any more charming or any more intriguing.

        Bust the bustds. We have a more even social system, then.

      3. Libertyrules says:

        Alejandro: Where did you get your stats? The rich would never pony-up that kind of money to the Feds. I’m an economist and nobody understands the problems that we (the Middle Class) face. The top 1% own/control 95% of this nations wealth–it’s called a plutonomy. We will all (and very soon) be slaves to the rich. That’s why the young are rebelling in Egypt, Libiya, etc. You get tired of eating tree bark.

      4. Toussain says:

        What you’re talking about is a statutory rate. The effective rate is actually different. Thanks to loopholes and foreign tax havens, you have very little paid by the very rich — and when I say the “very rich” I don’t mean someone making $250,000 a year. I am talking about the billionaires in this country. Corporations also have shown a historical trend of diminished tax burden. In 1940, income tax revenue between corporations and individuals was evenly split. Nowadays, individual income taxes is four times the amount paid by corporations. How can that be? Is that to say that corporations don’t do as well as they used to? No — rather, we have a political machine (both dems & repubs) who have engineered a tax shift from those at the very top down to the working class people. It can’t be denied; as Americas corporations thrive, the middle class continues to disappear. Unions can’t be blamed for that. If anything, unions have slowed that process down.

    2. P8nt says:

      Unions used to be noble. They fought for better treatment and work conditions. Now, they’re nothing but bloated selfish groups, wait that’s the same thing as what CANCER does to your body. There’s a reason why jobs get outsourced, why pay more if you can get equal or better quality work for LESS. Private sector employees HAVE to work hard to keep their job and their pay, union employees take 15 minute breaks ever hour. Unions basically guarantee you a job, regardless of your inability to competently do the work.

    3. ThomasJ says:

      Very correct.

      The gap between rich and middle class is widening, everywhere.
      The rich gets richer ..

      Time for every well formed social system in this world to have

      If some other social system, in some other nation is fighting
      injustice, the rest too can do that.

      Good luck.

    4. Disgusted in America says:

      Yes, everybody is stupid. Give them enough ESPN, internet porn, video games and beer and they will believe anything. Reading is anti-American as is any knowledge or understanding of history. Supporting the conservative rich thinking they will some day share their wealth with you is very fashionable. Demonizing unions and public servants as a politically correct way to express racism is cool. This country is suffering an epidemic of ignorance. It’s the only way Koch, Beck, Palin, Christie et. al. could have any success.

  8. Tom says:

    Unions are a CANCER…..

    1. dave seda says:

      no tom you are a cancer. rich are getting richer every year while the rest are dying out. hope you won the lottery

      1. johnny says:

        That’s the beauty of America. The freedom to become a CEO or business owner. Simply because you choose to work for someone doesn’t give you the right to cry financial inequality.

      2. Tom says:

        My divorced, mom died when I was 18. I payed my own way through school. I spent many years struggling while I saved money. At no expense to anyone else. Started a business, and now appreciate my good fortune and great employees. So if I am a cancer, I hope it spreads.

    2. The Walrus says:

      Tom you are an idiot. However, hope you get to experience the thrill of cancer so you will understand the difference, since you obviously were too stupid to learn the difference between cancer and unions in school. Oh and hope your employer fires you and cancels your health insurance when you get sick so you learn to appreciate unions. Hugs and kisses!!!

  9. Union Worker says:

    The Unions are the primary reason their is a middle class in America. All Union workers statewide should stand in solidaridy to fight off this vicious attack of all MIddle Class Americans.

    1. Union Teacher says:

      Maybe all union workers should quit, go on unemployment, welfare, food stamps, medicaid and stop paying taxes. Then the right wing nut idiots will learn their lesson. Nah, they’re too stupid. Stand Strong Wisconsin Unions, we are with you!!!!

  10. johnny says:

    I guess all the union members attending this rally don’t have steady jobs. It’s about time they get rid of these lazy workers.

    1. Michael H. says:

      Or they could be using a saved up vacation day. You can thank unions for things like that. Paid sick, vacation, etc…all thanks to unions.

      1. johnny says:

        We can also thank Unions for the highest cost of labor in the nation coupled with the most lazy people that are not allowed to be fired due to lack of performance.

      2. dave seda says:

        we have someone that is thinking right. maybe that ceo is or fake one is playing on the job. lets see when they say to him ” oh, we don’t think your’re doing a good job and fire him”. but then he has no job protection to do that.

    2. dave seda says:

      yeah, say that to some one who has to collect your garbage or protect you from a robber, or save you from a fire or teach your kids.

  11. The Private Sector says:

    It’s high time these blood-sucking unions have the wooden stake of justice hammered thru their hearts. Wisconsin is only the beginning.

    1. Toussain says:

      Yeah, about as blood sucking as the corporate welfare CEOs who collective over a record $20 billion in bonuses. Times are tough for some. Aren’t you glad your tax dollars support these CEOs and the tax breaks their companies have procured through politicians like Walker & Christie?

      1. dave seda says:

        this guy has lost touch with reality. he thinks the republicans are looking out for his best interest. lets see what happens when he gets hurt on his job and his boss says :”sorry but can’t pay you” because you have no protecting on the job.

      2. John says:

        However, bonuses in the private sector come out of companies’ earnings. Lifelong pensions, benefits and medical for public workers come out of everyone’s taxes! If you don’t like a company’s stance on any issue, you can always boycott their products. You cannot choose to boycott paying taxes – you will go to jail! That’s what this fight is about, and that’s why every state needs to follow Wisconsin’s lead in ending the fat, juicy ride for public workers!

      3. dave seda says:

        john, greed son, it’s all about greed. these guys will sell their mother to make a dollar. I hope your’re loaded, one day you will need job protection, and won’t have it. because you have no union. go to the t.v. lawyers to help you. hey john who bailed out the banks in 2008 and cause more debt to the country? hmmm!

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