Unions train and bankroll political candidates
By SETH GROSSMAN, Political Columnist
(Reprinted from November 3, 2010 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/index….andidates.html)
“Throughout New Jersey . 53 candidates running for town councilman,
mayor, county freeholder and other posts are graduates of a state
AFL-CIO program to recruit, train and support candidates for public
office who are union members, or who support pro-union policies.
The program, which costs the union about $250,000 a year, has
groomed more than 160 current officeholders – the overwhelmingly
majority of them Democrats – including eight members of the Legislature,
12 county freeholders, 18 mayors and a county clerk.
“Many are . leaders in their unions, like Stephen M. Sweeney, the president
of the state Senate and paid organizer for the Ironworkers Union, and Sen.
Donald Norcross . president of the Southern New Jersey Central Labor Council
of the AFL-CIO. . Five members of the Legislature are employees of their
labor unions . many more are union members, including one current shop
steward, Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano.”
– The New York Times, Oct. 29, 2010?
For the past 15 years, these union leaders got taxpayers to pay for new
tunnels, convention halls, baseball and football stadiums, ocean windmills,
$300,000 snack bars in Northfield, a $40 million duplicate technology high
school in Atlantic County, state aid for a new luxury high school in “poor”
Ocean City, etc. They were all built by expensive union contractors, mostly
with billions of dollars of borrowed money.
Thanks to these unions, we pay for lots of stuff we don’t need, and far too
much for what we do need.
Why are we spending $400 million on three miles of bridges and causeways
between Ocean City and Somers Point? The second 17-mile Chesapeake Bay
Bridge Tunnel between Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore out in the ocean
cost only $197 million 11 years ago.
Without these unions, we could probably build the Ocean City bridges, the
Beesleys Point Bridge, a bridge tunnel from Cape May to Delaware, and turn
most of Route 40 into a four-lane Interstate for that same $400 million.
And of course, these unions force every town to hire union companies and
apply union work rules that cost more than three times more for every repair
and paint job.
Besides these unions, we make our 106,000 public school teachers pay about
$1,100 each to three other unions, the National Education Association, the
New Jersey Education Association and their local “education” associations.
The teachers unions have their own programs to recruit, train and bankroll
candidates who give teachers 3 percent yearly hikes when most taxpayers are
earning less than the year before. And we force every cop, fireman, hospital
worker and other government employee to join unions to keep their jobs.
When you add it up, 20 percent of all employees in New Jersey are union
members – the fifth highest percentage in the nation. Most get far better
pay, pensions and benefits than nonunion people who do the same jobs.
An important exception are the hotel and casino workers of Local 54. They
can’t demand nearly as much, or they would put their private employers out
But members of most unions are directly or indirectly paid for by taxpayers.
When these unions get too much, governments don’t close; they just raise
taxes and borrow more money.
But after 30 years, this is coming to an end. Taxes in New Jersey are so
high that hardly any private business will build anything new unless it gets
some tax break (Revel) or other special deal from the government (Hard
The downside is when government does that, everyone else pays more.
Look at all the closed stores and for-sale signs on empty houses and you
see that too many people can’t pay now.
It will keep getting worse until we cut government spending. When a casino
taxed at $350 million sells for $35 million, it will soon be taxed at $35
million. The rest of us will pick up the bill for that lost $315 million
unless the county cuts its spending.
But no government can cut spending unless it lays off employees and pays
everyone else a lot less – including workers on most construction projects.
But that will never happen as long as the government is run by these unions.
The AFL-CIO and the NJEA are picking and training their candidates for next
year’s June primary elections. Will you be a candidate to stop them? If so,
contact us to learn how and where to get the training and support you need
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 more
information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or
call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held every Saturday from
9:30- 10:30 a.m. at the Shore Diner, Fire and Tilton roads, Egg Harbor Township.