TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New Jersey Senate has passed a bill requiring sharply higher contributions for pensions and health benefits from public workers while suspending unions’ ability to bargain over health care.
The upper chamber moved the bill with support from Republicans and a few Democrats in a 24-15 vote.
The bill was amended earlier on Monday to remove a controversial provision to limit public workers’ access to out-of-state medical care.

The bill must still be passed in an Assembly committee and then by the full Assembly.

Earlier, New Jersey public workers marched across the Delaware River to New Jersey’s Statehouse in protest of the bill. Hundreds of Revolutionary War re-enactors and union members crossed a bridge over the river in a simulation of George Washington’s crossing to Trenton in 1776.

A group of union members marched holding a giant banner reading “The Second Battle of Trenton.” Many wore 18th century garb and some impersonated the nation’s Founding Fathers.

More than 125 tents were set up and a mock graveyard for collective bargaining rights was erected in another spot near the statehouse.

“This is the defining moment for the labor movement in our generation,” New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech wrote in an email to enlist support for the rally, the latest and most ambitious of several recent Capitol protests. “Only through your presence in Trenton on Monday will we make the difference.”

Wowkanech was among 25 union members who were arrested after disrupting a Senate hearing on the bill Thursday. They were issued disorderly persons summonses and released.

Revolutionary War re-enactors and others cross the Delaware River Monday, June, 20, 2011, in Trenton, N.J., as they march to the Statehouse during a protest over plans by Gov. Chris Christie to reduce benefits and limit collective bargaining over health care for public workers. (credit: Mel Evans/AP)

Do you support the move? 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (45)
  1. d bonadies says:

    And just so everyone knows where I stand my husband may be a police officer who I know the public takes them for granted! But anyone who wants to take from teachers too either doesn’t have children or doesn’t care about them. These are people who are role models for our children who somethimes spend more time with them then we can ourselves. I know instead of wanting someone we trust with our children lets make the job sooo undesirable that the only people who will take it will do so because they can’t get a job anywhere else. I respect our teachers and I couldn’t be paid enough to do their job. And the way they are being treated is shameful!!!

  2. d bonadies says:

    First I would like to say that You not reponding to this thread any longer Mr. Fowler has been the highlight of my day. For anyone else who truly believes that the working class is the problem with the economy please log onto The Ed Show on MSNBC and watch the episode titled “The Rich Get Richer”. Public employees are not getting a free ride, You do realize for years we have been putting money into our own pensions I can’t say the same for the state, even though they used the funds there. Do you realize that although everytown may not be the same we aleady pay into our townships for our medical coverage now the state will get their cut on top of that. And where do you think any money the state has will go? To the highest bidder of course! Do you realize that with unions 80% of the work force benefits? Again it’s not about entitlment..we worked for this. Did you ever wonder why a store or business left it’s old business and moved down the street, it’s because they get a tax break. OUR yes OUR because we all pay taxes, money goes to those who are already millionares…….and I have yet to see a state employee who is a millionare.

  3. Scarlett says:

    NJ Schools rank at the top nationally. The schools are not failing. Middle class children will be denied a good education, but wealthy children will go to expensive school where teachers will not have to make sacrifices. All children are entitled to a quality education. This is war on the middle class, not just teachers!

  4. jrmy says:

    The State of NJ needs to keep the good teachers in classrooms, because I am seeing a lot of uneducated, unethical slander towards teachers here. Remember how important education is and the situations teachers are put in being around sick kids constantly! They deserve the health benefits they get. They don’t get paid enough to afford paying into their benefits and still provide for their own families! They have summers without ANY pay at all! Educators used to be valued. Remember every teacher you had over the years, who taught you how to read, write, educated you and gave you the tools needed to be able to contribute to our society. Consider your kids teachers and how they strive to give your children the best education they can, because that is their passion. If you don’t value the teachers, then you don’t place value on education. Teachers deserve their benefits at least, for what they give to the state of NJ every day.

    If you are reading this right now, you can thank a teacher for believing in you and supporting your growth. I think we need to support in them now.

  5. LG says:

    d bonadies–I will fight at every rally that I can for you and your family. Count on my support.

    I know what it’s like to do with less, but to raise your family with the hardships you face–you deserve better. And I will fight to defend what your husband makes. He deserves better. Your children deserve better. Woe to the ignorant who think your family does not.

    1. d bonadies says:

      Thank you LG. I believe we couldn’t ask for a better represenative.

  6. Simon says:

    Hmmm…i recall about 10 – 15 years ago during the economic boom when all these private sector types shunned civil service, looked down on them with scornwhile the times were good…now since times are hard it is time for everyone to blame the “public sector”…

    keep allowing politicians to buy their votes for re-election by patonizing the “receiving” class, i.e. the welfare recipients, the illegal immigrants, who in NY State pay the same level of college tuition as a NY State resident, subsidize your baseball stadiums all the while destroying the middle class…

    when someone faces harsh economic times…do they cancel the cable tv or cancel the electtic ??

    This bill makes the state of NJ cancel the electric…..duisgusting..

  7. Bob Fowler says:

    Congratulations NJ!!!

    Finally someone is putting the tourniquet in place to stop the hemmoraging of money to keep civil servants content. It has always amazed me at how valuable civil servants are considered. It takes twice as many civil servants to do the same job as in the private sector, yet they deserve benefits that rival the kings?

    Somehow, I fail to see how passing a test designed for borderline morons entitles you to 1) a job for life, 2) minimal job requirements which you are not allowed to go beyond, and 3) benefits that are far beyond those of most workers, paid for on the backs of these same workers. By the way, how many of those protesters used a sick day to attend this demonstration? Too sick to work, but not to take a day trip? Your pink slip awaits you for misusing your sick days.

    1. LG says:

      No. That was the first of my unemployed summer days. I do not get paid for what ignorant folk like you call “summer vacation.” And if it was a working day, I would never be allowed to take a sick day for demonstrations–the day would be charged to me as a personal day or a day without pay. Taking a sick day for a rally is not in my contract and as a union member I respect this.

      Union members don’t abuse anything, like you’ve been led to believe. You have been misled to believe we work the system. You’ve been fed rhetoric and you choose to believe it instead of seeing who we are for yourself. For this, I say shame on you, and shame on the NJ senate for voting to take away more of what little we have. I’m embarrassed for NJ after this horrific vote. We didn’t cause the financial problems, yet we are being made to pay for them. The fight isn’t over yet, however.

      Pension and benefits are part of the compensation for doing our jobs since the salary is so low, you could barely pay your bills with it. Please learn a little about public sector jobs before you spout off your nonsense on comment boards. Thank you.

  8. Bruce says:

    There needs to be some sanity. I’ve heard public employees paying $65 a month for health care. I’m out of work a bunch of years, and near retirement, but when I lost my last job, my cobra health payments were $12000.00 a year, that’s $1000.00 a month. I paid it as long as I could. (from savings) It was almost more than my income that year. I’m sure it’s a good deal more than that now. So many can’t afford insurance at $1500 per month, so have none, and public servants are paying $65, say $100 per month…. Wake up America… This just ain’t right.
    A lot of the public just doesn’t know what’s going on, But we report our income and costs to the government. They know how ROTTEN the distribution is…. and they are standing pretty quiet…WHY… I wish the American Dream wasn’t just an illusion of salesmanship…. Not good for all or most but Good for only the elect few I’m ashamed to write this..

    1. toyotabedzrock says:

      They paid thousands to get a college degree.

      Stop trying to make others life worse because yours sucks.

      Third that extra money goes back into the economy. If no one has money there is no demand and no one has jobs.

      If you want to know where your money goes look the Oligarch CEOs and WallStreet Barons.

  9. rxman says:

    Many of the public workers(esp teachers) have prescription plans that charges the same co-pay weather generic or brand name drug is dispensed. Tax payor pays the difference!

    1. toyotabedzrock says:

      Thats is a lie. I know that for a fact.

      They have always paid more for name brand medicine.

    2. d bonadies says:

      Ok lets try this again since my first comment didn’t post. I pay more for name brand than generic and thats only if the ins. company approves it. Also their are medications you have to pay unfront for that the ins company says they will reimburse you for which by the way they are only gonna reimburse you according to THEIR costs not yours. EX my meds cost $100.00 I pay $100.00 ins company reimbuses me $30.00 because thats THEIR cost. Also with my great benefits I had to put a dentist visit on my credit card because it cost $1100.00 and the ins covered NOTHING!!! Thats right people I put it on plastic because with our great pay and benefits I couldn’t afford to pay it, so Ill be payin off my dentist for the next 30yrs. T

      1. Bob Fowler says:

        Welcome to the lives of the majority of people in America. The only difference is that most of us pay $500 a month to achieve the same lack of coverage. Those of us that can’t afford the $500/month, unlike you, go day to day without any medical, dental or optical coverage. I will continue to feel taken advantage of so long as I pay for you to have better than me.

      2. d bonadies says:

        Mr. Fowler ur ignorance overwelms me and my patiece is runnin thin. I didn’t have health ins till I was 21yrs old! As a kid I had to have teeth removed because we couldn’t aford root canals, at 20yrs old I was paralyzed with guillin barre disease!!! It took years to pay medical bills and even longer to fix my credit. Do not tell me about hard luck!! We showered at friends houses because most of the time we didn’t have running water and our floor was torn up wood!! The fact that u wish awful things on people because things r tough for u is disgusting. How about this I’ve paid into unemployment for yrs where’s my money? or my children are disabled urs should too? Or I had cancer when r u gonna get urs? Sounds awful doesn’t it? I’ve never had things easy and my family worked hard to get where we r, we thought we were making the right decisions for our family. I started out poor worked hard to be middle class but will bw poor again! And not only because or the rich who r bleeding us but because of people like u mr. Fowler who instead of standing beside the working class, stand with the rich who r laughing at us when it suits u. After the goverment takes care of the state workers I wonder who their gonna come after next, what their gonna destroy that doesn’t effect them….how long it takes them to get to something u care about?

      3. Bob Fowler says:

        So let me get this right…you had a hard life, so you and tens of thousands are entitled to more than those who pay for it can afford?

        I commend you for surviving, and apparently conquering. That being said, how or why does that entitle you and the tens of thousands to avoid a fair share of OUR economic downturn? Did you stand up for the vast number of us who lost 20-25% of our income, health insurance, vacation time? The rest of us don’t cry about it, we just work harder and make due with what we have. I am offended that there is a faction of the populous that feels that they shouldn’t have to step up like the rest of us.

        Your asumptions as to my history are exactly that, ass-u-mptions. How dare you try to compare your life with anyone’s, using your history as justification for it!!! Because you THOUGHT that you made the right choice for you and your family also does not entitle you to anything, no more so than my choices entitled me to anything more than I WORK for.

        In conclusion (and I will not respond to this thread again), stop your whining and step up like the rest of us.

      4. LG says:

        Mr. Fowler–nothing is about entitlement. Pension and benefits are part of a compensation package for a poor salary–nothing more. This isn’t some cadillac agreement like you and others who are ill-informed tend to believe. You already showed your ignorance when you accused “the entitled” of taking sick days to attend a rally. You really need to get your facts straight before you spew nonsense–you know nothing about how we honor our contracts. And yes, contracts protect BOTH parties, not just unions. Otherwise, both parties would not agree to them.

        I pay into my health benefits–always have. I cannot afford to pay more unless my salary is commensurate with the loss. But it has always been that my salary was less than I needed to live. We have always done with less. When the rest of the country was prospering, we took no bonuses or hand-outs. We got nothing extra. We made due with what little we got–what we negotiated to be fair and equitable for both parties. We fought because no one else stood up for us. And now that some people are suffering, we are the scapegoats because they didn’t fight to keep what they had?

        I’m sorry to hear that you are doing with much, much less, but if you felt you deserved it, why didn’t you fight for a united front and negotiate for it? Instead, you would begrudge those who have stepped up and stood up to “the man.” Those who didn’t then are suffering now. And when we stood up, others just balked. “Looked at them. They make so little. Who would want THEIR jobs?” Well, now you seem to think our jobs are so great? You want us to do them without fair and equitable compensation because you think we are entitled? I expect to get paid for the job I do. I do it well, and I am a professional. I also know the struggle that took place for me to have what little I have. And now politicians want to meddle in my affairs and take away even that.

        “First they came for the communists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

        Then they came for me
        and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

        Congratulations. They have finally come for the last bastion of middle class American worker. And you condone this? You should be ashamed of yourself.

  10. d bonadies says:

    LG nicely said.

  11. Robert Senn says:

    the way i look at it they messed health care up so bad the onley way they have left to go issocialized medi maybe they wont mess that up

  12. doc in NJ says:

    at the end of the day, everyone in the workforce is there to MAKE MONEY. Gov’t employees do their jobs of choice because of pensions, benefits, and to retire after 20 yrs into a part-time job off-the-books – and still have full health benefits for life. As a doctor for 15 yrs, I’ve listened to quite a few waiting room chats about public sector workers who are laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of tax payers.

    1. mirror says:

      Excuse me my father just got a bill for $230.00 for an office visit to a general prac. ………so tell me again who is laughing all the way to the bank?

    2. LG says:

      Whoa, there doc–I don’t get full benefits as a teacher. Come on now, you didn’t know that? You comment like do. Now I usually get paid (poorly) to educate folk, but this lesson is free, doc.

      I have co-pays and deductibles. Where are these FREE BENEFITS FOR LIFE that you talk about? Which district? Which county? Which schools? You do know that each school district has its own health insurance agreement, right? I mean, there is no blanket health care agreement for public school teachers like has been insinuated by our politicians.

      Not all “gov’t” employees have the same wonderful health benefits that you speak of. And now the GOVERNMENT wants to take away some of what we have at great expense. I want my salary compensated with interest for the loss in my paycheck to make up for paying for these benefits, since currently, my salary is not going to cover the loss.

      Please tell me, doc. Will you be raising your rates anytime soon? I think you ought to lower them, since we all have to share in economic ruin caused by millionaires who, I understand, are still getting bonuses. We all need to do our part to make it through this mess. You might just have to wait another few years to buy that yacht.

  13. Ralph Nessler says:

    NJ has enjoyed some of the best education in the country for years due to the energies and dedication of the teachers in this great state. Some would say, if we don’t like it, we should find another job. Guess what? We will. At least the really good teachers who will easily find other employment and the potentially really good teachers in the future who choose to teach in other states or choose other professions altogether. The teachers who remain will be like those in other states where education isn’t a priority. You get what you pay for, you know. The rules will require the great teachers in this state to remain until they can begin collecting on the pensions they’ve continued to pay into while the state did not, but after that the education system in NJ will be filled with exactly what the politicians and taxpayers want, people who work cheaply and do an OK job. When things start to go down the toilet drain in NJ education, look back to June, 2011 and remember why. I bet the state’s budget will still be a joke because it wasn’t the public employees who caused the mess.

    1. PO'd says:

      Please say something worth while. The best teachers have all but retired. Whats left are a large % of teachers who only teach students to pass the annual test and keep the overall %’s high for comparative use only. they rarely educate. i pulled my kids out of public and enrolled into a private school where they are more challenged. If you think that the education system has not gone down the drain yet, you missed the boat (and the tidy bowl man). And as for the public employees not causing the mess… are truly in la la land.

      1. LG says:

        Sorry, but your experiences appear quite narrow. What you are saying about the “entire education system” carries no clout if it is an opinion based on your own little world. An educated person would know the difference between weak and strong research. Yours appears weak being from one source.

        My experiences stem from having moved from one state to another, and subbing in different districts before I could secure a full-time job. I have found THE best teachers in NJ. The people I have found teaching in NJ schools are dedicated to all their students: the troubled, the gifted, the learning disabled, the artistic, etc. Tests are an unhappy part of the job brought down on teachers by the politicians who claim that these are the only measure of education. Don’t go blaming teachers for this debacle–again, that blame-game stems from faulty research on your part. And are you going to use the argument that test scores are low so the education stinks as part of your stance? Sounds mighty hypocritical to me. Which is it? The test is important or it isn’t?

        Until you’ve had several years of running your own classroom, and seeing all the ins and outs of the school society, you could not be a valid judge. It sounds like you think you know more about educating society than teachers do since you have children. “And I have a car, so naturally I know more about how to fix one than an auto mechanic…” I discount a personal experience with little merit and variety just as any researcher who deigns to make a statement does.

        Public employees didn’t ruin the economy. Wall St. ruined the economy. Please get your facts straight before you vote again. Public employees work to get fair and equitable contracts for their working environments. We do not ask for more than districts can afford. We live within our means and have always made due with much less than our counterparts. Pensions and benefits are part of a compensation package that includes an insanely low salary for the credentials. I would have expected that someone of your intellect who spawned such exceptional children would understand reality and be suspect of rhetoric.

    2. d bonadies says:

      I agree with you. An the politicains don’t care because they send their children to private schools.

      1. d bonadies says:

        just to make myself clear i agree with mr. nessler

  14. noah says:

    the economy is recovering! we should all be able to put things right very soon. oh, wait. i mean the stock market is recovering and the wealthy are the only ones feeling any relief. bet they’ll all start hiring like gangbusters any day now though! those rich, business-owning folks are just chomping at the bit to help fix the job situation for the middle class. right? i mean, sure, they figured out how to generate profits without that pesky 4-5% of the workforce, but that doesnt mean they would want to keep things that way. right?

  15. d bonadies says:

    My husband is a police officer, for years his friends working inthe private sec. made 2-3Xs more than he did. In the past his union has bargained away pay raises, vac etc. to keep their pension in tack (the pension he has been contributing to for years) Now that the econ. is bad he doesn’t deserve what he has been working for for amost 20yrs? And a little side note, the average life span of a police officer is far shorter than those in the private sector, most already don’t see much of their pension I guess the politicain s must be happy about that since they now have to work longer to collect maybe they’ll just die before their payed what their owed so the state can spend it instead.

    1. Ted says:

      Please – 2-3x more in the private sector. I don’t think so. I have a friend who is a sgt on the JC force and pulls down over $100K, patrolman making less salary pull down the same, sometimes more with overtime. Where are the facts that show police have a shorter life span? There are none, you made it up, in fact window washers in NYC have a more dangerous life and can’t retire after 20 yrs at 3/4 pay. I’m sick of hearing about the police – nobody twisted their arms to do the job and they are more than adequately compensated for what they do.

      Teachers are another story, I don’t think they are adequately compensated. I also think a lot of money in the education system is wasted, but that goes back to incompetent school business administrators running the budgets. We need sanity in the system, min. 20 yrs of service and min retirement age of 62 before being able to go out on full pension for ALL public employees. And hey – paying a few bucks in won;t kill you. To generate $50K per year (more than many teachers get but not police) you need $1 million in assets at 5%. No public worker is contributing anywhere near what is needed to through off that level of income. and $k should be the cap on any and all public pensions with a limit of one per customer. Pensions should be a safety net, not primary retirement income so the police and firefighters can all drive in BMW’s and Mercedes (notice how many are parked around precincts with shields on the glass.

      1. d bonadies says:

        Excuse me a car detailer was making 30,000.00 more. My husband has been putting into the pension system for close to 20yrs and now that the gov has used that money for their own pet projects and hasn’t made their contributons he should pay? As for ur friend god bless him I don’t think he’s making enough, however where my husband works they will never see that amount not every police dept pays the same. As for ur window washers they knew they weren’t getting a pension when they started. You are a nasty self center person the next time my family is waiting for daddy’s HIV and Hep test to come back because someone bled on him……..I’ll remember he’s not worth it.

      2. Dr. Y says:

        I agree with you that a lot of money in the education system is wasted!!!!!!!! I had a chance to see other educational systems and never saw such heavy school administration and so much paper work!!!! I also never saw academic support teachers in any other countries! There are many wrong people in different filed including education! But administrators do nothing about it! People asked me “Why do not you become a school administrator?” I always say that in order to fix it I would fire too many people and too many people would get upset with my actions! This is why I prefer to be an educator and work with kids! I love what I am doing!”

      3. d bonadies says:

        Wait pensions should be a safety net?!!! Ill solve the problem right now! State of NJ give my husband back the money that has had deducted from his pay check for the last 20yrs, you know that couple a hundred that we could really use to pay bills. You don’t even have to give us intrest just the money you took from us. oh you can’t….you already spent it? But i could have put that money in my own IRA ya know because thats suppossed to be my primary retirement income. Ok what about you put a cap on how much your takin out of my check….Can’t do that either….well how about this state of NJ since you’ve changed the rules of the pension system how about i have the option to NOT contribute anymore so you can find somewhere else to steal money from. oh and as for the 62yrs of age requirement , I guess you won’t mind when that 62 y old cop shows up to break up a fight, or stop someone from breaking into ur home……u really have not a clue.

  16. p says:

    Don’t forget lower fixed income people. if they pay more, you should pay the same percentage increase.

  17. Concern says:,, &

  18. James Mc Gonigle says:

    When the checks start bouncing lets see if the Dem’s jump in front of the cameras and admit that , yes they had a chance to fix it and diddn’t!

  19. GovtParasite says:

    Here’s the bottom line public union dooshbags. You don’t like it? Find another job!! There are plenty of unemployed people waiting on line.

    1. qwerty says:

      learn how to spell, tool

  20. Skipper says:

    It’s too bad that unions don’t want to understand that the well is running dry and everyone should have to bite the bullet. States now have labor laws that have replaced unions hold over employees. Govts whether federal or state should realize they are a public service and not a parasite on the back of taxpayers. Taxpayers pay more attention to how your representatives vote. The bigger the govt framework, the more it costs. Overhead for employee benefits has become unsustainable both in the govt and private sectors.

    1. LG says:

      Yes, and when the well flows bountifully, the unions take what little they have bargained for–because no one is sharing the wealth. No one is giving union members bonuses or perks. We take what we have fought to get all the time–no more, no less–no matter what. We fought for this since we know that educating America takes a stable workforce, not a selfish one that goes from job to job trying to make more money and certainly not one willing to play roulette with its livelihood. Leave the gambling to Wall St..

      Yet, WE pay taxes just like everyone else. It pains me to hear someone who owns a McMansion complain that his or her taxes are so high when I’m living in a condo and I’ve been out of college for 18 years. I live within my means, and I still pay taxes. These entitled members of society need to scale it down and make a contribution to the education of their society or this democracy will fail. Education does not exist only for the McMansion owners’ children. It exists for all.

      Now you hit the nail on the head: overhead for employee benefits has become unsustainable–therefore, why aren’t you complaining about the high cost of health care? Instead, you made the mistake long ago to pay into this enterprise because somebody bullied you into it or else you wouldn’t have a job. You didn’t stand up for yourselves in the private sector, and you lost. Now you want us to go down with you? Take a moment and look at what you’re asking. You: “We are too reluctant to stand up for what we should have, so we don’t want you to have it either.” You made this mistake a long time ago. We fought for a very long time to have what little we have. We weren’t motivated by greed–we were motivated by stability. And now when the those in the greedy private sector who wanted shortcuts and wealth and who gave us nothing when it was prospering are saying we should be poorer than we already are because they are hurting. Society should hang its head in shame for this one.

      Go fight the health insurers. They’re making a killing off of you.

      1. d bonadies says:

        Thank you LG!! I don’t know what people are thinking. We are a 5 member family we live in a three bedroom home and are grateful we have that, and we have worked hard for it! We live paycheck to paycheck like most other people we know. I have also have 2 special needs children……and even with the wonderful benefits the public THINKS I have i’ll never be able to provide for them the way I want to. This is the face of the public employee, we are ur neighbor thats our old minivan parked next to you at shoprite……ur attacking people who are just like you because some “millionare” said we r the problem not him and his friends…..and the worst part is yo believe it.

  21. Mark says:

    They should all pay.The system is broke and no one owns them a thing. I have no pension, I pay more than half of my benefits and live paycheck to paycheck! If this will help then do it now! Most public workers make more now then when they took the job and the pay level has past that of the private sector worker. All my friends is the private REAL WORLD have had no raises in 3 years and have had to absorb the high cost of health cars and cost of living etc. NO one cares about us tax payers and there is no more blood left in the stone.

    1. noah says:

      actually, public employees care about tax payers. thats why we do jobs that no one else is able or willing to do. im not trying to be a smart ass. im telling you the truth.

    2. LG says:

      Union members are tax payers, Mark. Your logic about not getting raises does not compute when you talk about REAL WORLD salaries. Take the teaching profession–REAL WORLD salaries are not what teachers get–therefore, pension and benefits round out their poor salaries. These other areas of compensation are all part of a compensation package. The public could not afford to pay teachers what they should really be getting.

      If you want to go and cry about how you pay all of this and that, maybe you should try to make a living on what the average teacher makes minus all the time, money and hard work it took to get the credentials that public school teaching requires. It’s YOU who needs a dose of reality. No teacher can live off of what they make without the rest of their compensation. Stop comparing apples to oranges, and stop supporting those who would take away what teachers rightfully have earned. You want teachers to pay more into their benefits and pensions? You couldn’t handle the salaries they would require. Your rhetoric will cause a mass exodus of quality teachers. Thanks so much for ruining society with your selfish thinking…

      Instead of complaining about what you don’t have, why are you trying to take away what little union members DO have? Go fight for your own instead of playing into the whims of the out-of-touch private sector.

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