July 14, 2015
Compiled by Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trumka Calls Walker ‘National Disgrace’
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka reacted to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s July 13, announcement that he is officially running for president with a one-line statement: “Scott Walker is a national disgrace.”
The Badger State Republican has earned labor’s enmity for pushing through legislation in 2011 that eliminated collective bargaining for state workers except for cost-of-living increases; signing a law to prohibit the union shop for private workers last March; and telling a crowd in February that he was qualified to fight “radical Islamic terrorism” because “If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the world.” Along similar lines, he’s also said that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire striking air-traffic controllers in 1981, because it showed the Soviet Union that Reagan was tough.
N.J. Unions Challenge State Pay Freeze
Unions representing New Jersey's prison guards and state police supervisors filed suit July 7, against a pay freeze imposed by Governor Chris Christie’s administration July 1. The Governor's Office of Employee Relations suspended step increases, raises given to workers for years of experience on the job, after contracts for more than 50,000 state workers expired June 30. Contract talks have been stalled by disputes over Gov. Christie’s deliberate underfunding of state workers’ pensions. The pay freeze “is nothing more than a political coercion which is expressly prohibited,” said the lawsuit filed by the Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 105, which represents state corrections, juvenile justice, and parole officers, and the New Jersey Law Enforcement Supervisors Association. Several other unions, including the Communications Workers of America and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, say they also plan to challenge the freeze.