Union control of government is killing New Jersey
By SETH GROSSMAN, Political Columnist
(Reprinted from November 17, 2010 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic
and Cape May Counties,
In previous columns, I explained how the 11 AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils
(mostly construction worker unions), and the National Education Association,
New Jersey Education Association and American Federation of Teachers unions
prepare their members to be attractive candidates for state, county and
local public office. They then spend millions of dollars each year to get
That is why unions, not lawyers, run state and most local governments. Here
in Atlantic and Cape May counties, half of our state legislators (Democrat
Sen. Jim Whelan, Democrat Assemblyman Nelson Albano and Republican
Assemblyman John Amodeo) are union members. The three nonunion members
rarely vote against them. None are lawyers.
Only a handful of government officials stand up to the unions. They include
independent Mayor Michael Beck of Lower Township, Democratic Councilman
Domenic “Tony” Pullella of Brigantine, and Republican Freeholder Joe
McDevitt of Atlantic County. They deserve your thanks – and financial
Union control of government, known in Europe as socialism, is killing New
Jersey. Nonunion construction companies can hire the best workers for the
job. Union companies can only hire who the union sends. Unions often force
companies to hire bad workers with good connections, at the price of getting
the good workers they need. A nonunion electrician who lays wire under a
sidewalk cuts and replaces that small strip of cement himself. In a union
job, a union bricklayer must be called in to do that hour of work for a full
Unions make it almost impossible to fire bad employees. Union-backed laws
reward disgruntled employees (and their lawyers) who sue their companies.
They get more money for hurt feelings than most accident victims get for
This is why Lenox China in Egg Harbor Township and most of the factories in
Mays Landing and Millville shut down. This is why Revel will spend $2.3
billion to build a casino that will be worth only $500 million when
This is why nothing gets built in New Jersey today without tax money, tax
breaks or sweetheart permit deals. We pay high taxes for union-built
schools, bridges, hospitals – and $7 million each for the empty Landis and
Levoy movie theaters in Vineland and Millville. Everyone in Atlantic County
will pay for the Revel casino tax breaks.
Union members in the building trades get great salaries and benefits when
they work. But most of them are usually out of work. We taxpayers then pay
them $550 per week for unemployment.
Last April, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 351
was forced to tell its 2,040 members that its pension plan was “seriously
endangered” and only 65 percent funded. Guess what the next government
bailout will be!
Do most union members want government run this way? Probably not, but their
leaders sure do. Look at how much money they are making. Their salaries are
listed in the Form LM-2 Labor Organization Annual Report filed by every
union with the U.S. Department of Labor. Go to
The Camden-Gloucester-Salem-Cumberland AFL-CIO Central Labor Council is run
by Donald Norcross, who is also the Democratic state senator for parts of
Camden and Gloucester County. The Atlantic-Cape May Council is run by Roy
Foster, the Republican appointed chairman of the Atlantic County Improvement
The Form LM-2 Report for 2009 shows both Norcross and Foster as business
agents of IBEW Local 351. They were each paid a salary of $202,772 in 2009,
plus benefits and a car. The LM-2 form also shows high salaries for these 13
other IBEW Local 351 officials:
Business managers: Edward Gant, $296,221; William Hosey, assistant,
Business agents: Timothy Collins, $162,337; Daniel Cosner, $162,337; Robert
Nedohon, $162,337; Dennis E. Kleiner (Republican councilman in Galloway
Township), $135,411; Michael R. Becker, $191,907; Timothy O. Carew
(Republican council president in Northfield), $162,337.
Bookkeepers: Donna Zajack, $56,482; Susan Gant, $20,671.
Secretaries: Lynn Castellari, $42,047; Karol Cohen, $64,742; Kathryn C.
I didn’t have time to get the LM-2 reports of the other unions that feed off
taxpayers. They include the unions for government employees (CWA, AFSCME,
IBT-Teamsters), carpenters (UBC), equipment operators (IUOE), plumbers (UA),
post office workers (NALC) or other employees who are directly or indirectly
paid by taxpayers. Shouldn’t our daily newspaper be doing this?
The 15,000 Atlantic City casino service workers of Local 54 UNITE-HERE
pulled out of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council of these unions. They know
that when government creates a few jobs for these unions, it kills a lot
more jobs for everyone else.
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 1400AM talk radio Mondays and
Tuesdays from 3-4 p.m. and on 92.1FM Saturdays from 9-10 a.m. For
information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email email@example.com
or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every
Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton
roads in Egg Harbor Township.