On the union front, he said, “I think what you see now is that our teachers union is growingly unpopular because they’re inflexible and they believe that they’re entitled to be shielded completely from the recession.” (The union, meanwhile, argues that he’s unfairly targeting some of the lowest-paid workers around and singling them out for budgetary pain).
But he also suggested he’s seeing a “schism,” not just within the Democratic Party over this issue, but between public sector and private sector labor groups.
“I think what you see is a divide in the union movement,” he said, adding that groups like the New Jersey building trades are struggling with high unemployment rates for their members and equally high property taxes “and they know that the driver for that is the 4 or 5 percent salary (hikes)” for public workers.
“I know it’s been a third rail before,” he said, but added that if he didn’t fight it, the other battles wouldn’t be very meaningful.
Like other Republicans nation.ally, Christie said he views Obama as an “ally” on education reform and in the push to force the teachers’ union to make changes. The idea of Christie, a rising GOP star who won despite the White House’s best efforts to defeat him in 2009, and Obama as collaborators isn’t as incongruous as it seems—many Democrats privately acknowledge that Obama’s push for “Race to the Top” funding created a climate in which unions are no longer a protected political class.
“What I’ve said to folks is, we’re at a unique moment in history where you have conservative Republican governors …who’s never been able to get traction against the teachers union, but now you’ve got a Democratic president and (his) Secretary of Education” talking the same talk, he said
Labels: Christie, NJEA, RTTT