CWA Head: 'It's Going To Take World War III To Get Rid Of Adolf Christie'

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Labor leaders rallying for collective bargaining rights in New Jersey went on the offensive Thursday with one comparing Gov. Chris Christie to Adolf Hitler and two Democratic legislative leaders to his generals, one day after the three agreed on a deal to sharply restrict state employee bargaining rights and increase health care costs.

“Welcome to Nazi Germany,” Christopher Shelton, international vice president of the Communication Workers of America’s District 1, told the large crowd gathered on the Statehouse lawn. “It’s going to take World War III to get rid of Adolf Christie.”

Thousands took to the Statehouse lawn chanting “Bargaining rights are American rights,” and carrying signs that read “Negotiate, don’t legislate.

“I think (Christie) is doing the same thing that Scott Walker is doing in Wisconsin,” Lee Saunders, secretary-treasurer of AFSCME, told The Associated Press. “It’s unacceptable to preclude us from the right to collectively bargain for our rights.”

The rally was planned before Christie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver struck a deal Wednesday that calls for legislation, instead of collective bargaining, to require the state’s 500,000 government employees to pay a portion of their health care premiums based on income. At the same time, workers are also being asked to contribute more toward their pensions.

The deal was brokered with mostly support from Republicans and a few Democrats.

Several Democratic lawmakers told the rally they opposed the deal. That group included Senator Ray Lesniak and Assemblymen Daniel Benson, Patrick Diegnan, Wayne DeAngelo, Reed Gusciora, Vincent Prieto.

“Today is the difference between sheep and lions,” Gusciora, D-Princeton, said. “There’s a lot of sheep inside while the lions are out here protecting workers’ rights.”

DeAngelo, D-Hamilton, told the crowd, “I’m not inside because my mind is already made up.”

Inside the Statehouse, a Senate budget committee was considering the bill sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, an official with the ironworkers union. The Assembly is set to consider the bill next week.

Even as Sweeney spoke, union members at the rally chanted “Sweeney is a rat,” with some pointing to a 10-foot inflatable rat holding a sign that read: “Pension Betrayal.”

Workers also brought along a coffin with a sign that says “The death of collective bargaining.”

“I view this as union busting,” said Jersey City police officer Mark Razzoli, who accused lawmakers of trying to turn the public against public workers when he said lawmakers deserved blame for raiding the pension system in flush years.

“Not that long ago we were heroes, you know,” Razzoli said. “I was at ground zero, as many other people were. It is disgraceful what is going on here.”

Christie said public employees in New Jersey will eventually thank him and the leaders of the Democratic-majority for saving their pensions.

“New Jersey is setting a model for dealing with these problems in an honest, forthright and bipartisan way,” the governor said Thursday.

Lou Venezia, a 33-year-old firefighter in Bloomfield, wasn’t in a thanking mood when he compared lawmakers to criminals.

“I’m down here protesting all the pimps, thieves, prostitutes and racketeers,” Venezia said, “and I’m not at Trenton State Prison, I’m at the Statehouse.”

There was a call for some temperance.

Lesniak, D-Elizabeth, who was opposed by the NJEA in a tough primary election last week, pledged his support but urged Democrats to distance themselves from inflammatory genocide remarks.

“We cannot support equating Chris Christie and Steve Sweeney and Sheila Oliver with Nazis,” Lesniak said. “We support your rights totally, but we cannot be associated with those comments.”

More rallies are planned for next week.

(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 (15)
  1. Concern says:,, &

  2. lydia says:

    mice trying to eat all the cheese and only filling their pockets with money from the workers …” Your description sounds remarkably like that of corporate executives.
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  3. hackergo says:

    Unions are COSA NOSTRA!! where is your $$ going u idiots!!! BUST UNIONS make decent wages mandantory and CUT THE MOB OUT!!!

  4. Vienna Joe says:

    Hahahaha! I didn’t realize that Hitler was addicted to fast food.

  5. I'm With Union Right Or Wrong! says:

    I’m a State union worker and proud of it. Unions are trually AMERICAN contrary to these anti union republicans & conservative that spout unions & socialism being bad BS. Another thing I don’t understand why working people in the private sector are so against us. Them of all people should be for us. They are just jealous because with get great pay & paid benefits which we are entitled to and deserve. Jon Corzine was our friend and the NJ GOP along with the Nat’l GOP fixed it where Christie would get in and try to take our jobs away from us.

    Unions have help the little working man and we are always right. We have great pay & benefits, 40 hour work week along with weekends and every holiday off paid, lots of personal & vacation time.

    Socialism isn’t a bad thing. The rich should pay more taxes to help the little man. The more money you make, the more you should pay in taxes. Thats a fact. We will not back down from Hitler Christie who want to make us work for peanuts and make us poor. I’m State union,I’m Democrat,I voted for Corzine twice, I voted for Obama who is a good president and proud of and will vote for him again in 2012, I’m a liberal and proud of it!!!!!!!!

    1. ohioan says:

      Unions are the reason that companies have moved production out of this country, public employees unions are the reason that so many states are deeply in debt, the UAW is the reason that Americans started buying better-made and more affordable foreign cars, and unions are the reason we have so many inept politicians elected.

      1. Vienna Joe says:

        Corporate greed is the reason that companies move their manufacturing out of this country. Corporate executives refuse to pay middle class workers a living wage and take far too big a piece of the pie for themselves. Public employees are not the reason municipalities are in debt, in return for the services they provide are paid lower middle class wages and receive a pension as a part of their compensation package. Politicians like Christie are destroying the middle class in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest 2% of Americans, continue corporate welfare and billions in subsidies for big oil.

      2. DCOnEdge says:

        you’re delerious ohioan. You must still be reeling from LeBron abandoning your state (now I see why he left!) Don’t be stupid…companies have moved their operations over seas because they are greedy and are not in the least bit concerned about the quality of life in America or the contries they exploit. In fact, they (and every republican politician in their pockets who are helping to preserve their way of life) are laughing at YOU right now. You sound like an advertisement for corporate responsibility hahaha!!! Where were you the last three years? They are RAPING the American people, you included!

    2. Goblin says:

      The key words are “entitle” and “deserve”. Thats the problem with Unions.

  6. Robert Senn says:

    lets get things straight the unions are saying christe is not bargaining in good faith come on loser 2010 how many new state employees were higherd from federal money with the stipulation if money ran out you woulld be let go well the money went dry now if you get a hold ofannette quijano ask her were the home land security money goes you might want to go with cristy if every dept in the state lays off 5 people we would not have a problem better yet go with the dept and money we had 10 years ago when we had better servises in this state

  7. John says:

    Christie is a leader of men. Union leaders are mice trying to eat all the cheese and only filling their pockets with money from the workers who have lost their ways.

    1. Vienna Joe says:

      “mice trying to eat all the cheese and only filling their pockets with money from the workers …” Your description sounds remarkably like that of corporate executives.

  8. J says:

    Govenor Christie is the man. This is the type of President America needs to reduce of insane deficit..

    1. Sicka Christie says:

      Yes, because N.J. is in such great shape right now (delusional)! We need a FAT, unattractive, did I say FAT, LOSER to be president hahaha!!! His a$$ is likely to die of a heart attack any day now hahaha!!! I WISH he would run!!! He should make Palin his running mate hahahaha!!!!! That would more than guarantee Obama’s job!!!

      OBAMA 2012!!!

    2. DM says:

      Wow….you must have a lot of money to gain by men like Christie being in power, eh? Always about the money…that’s the problem with republicans. As if money is the only thing holding life together. What’s sad is people seriously think and act that way. Like you.

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