The NJEA and other unions will find it hard to back Democrats who voted to take away collective bargaining rights. Why Democrats would think it is in their advantage to try to out-Christie Christie makes no sense to me.Bill Lavin, president of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association, tried on a Dirty Harry persona with the Star-Ledger: "If this bill passes, the only thing that sunsets will be the Democratic Party. "
Perry, a die-hard labor guy, was reflective and realistic. Sure, his brothers and sisters took a defiant stand and declared war on the "Christie Democrat" traitors who abandoned their cause, but in truth, the once-powerful and feared public labor unions are on the brink of a political Waterloo, Perry acknowledged.Stile concludes,
Union leaders once strode the hallways with a polite, but cocksure manner, knowing their phone calls would be returned, their bills amended, their concerns accommodated. Now they are reeling in a rear-guard retreat, scrambling to find their footing in the rapidly changing political landscape. And worse, they can no longer turn to the legislative leadership for redress.Tom Moran in the Star-Ledger eulogizes,
Mark this as the day that the spell was broken, the day that the public worker unions finally lost their stranglehold on the Legislature, the day that Democrats ginned up the courage to confront the most important special interest group in their coalition.Moran adds, "the unions didn’t seem to get it. At the rally, they sang songs about the working class and the rich, as if they were coal miners seeking out a meager wage, as if middle-class taxpayers were the greedy mine owners. "Have we dealt with this situation well?" asked Vince Giordano, the political operative for the state’s teachers union. "Yes, without question."
Union leaders were in a daze, like jilted lovers who couldn’t believe the breakup was actually happening.
The New Jersey Education Association is desperate. It has long been able to do what it wants because it controlled public officials. It is fast becoming irrelevant. Key Democrats are no longer concerned about union support. When the moon is eclipsed, tides do strange things.And on the passage of the pension and benefits reform bill through the Senate committee, "This was about power. And the NJEA is flat out of puppets and power."
A State House source with direct knowledge of negotiations that produced last night’s pension and health benefits reform deal confirmed what many of us have been hearing all day: public employee unions rejected a compromise that would have ensured no employee paid more than 3 percent of salary toward health insurance.Savvy union executives would have grabbed such a deal, but NJEA's leaders are awash in indignation and self-righteousness. Today's headlines could have contained encomiums to the diplomacy and legislative brilliance of leaders who protected members from contributions to health premiums of up to 35% (for the highest-paid administrators). Instead the public today is reading about the CWA spokesman, Christopher Shelton, who called Gov. Christie a Nazi and Sen. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Oliver “Adolph Christie’s generals.”
That ceiling would have applied to employees across the board, regardless of income, the source said.
But, “the unions wanted full control of everything.”