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499th Labor Candidate Victory in New Jersey

05.15.08

499th Labor Candidate Victory in New Jersey

http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/05/14/499th-labor-candidate-victory-in-new-jersey/

New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech describes yesterday’s municipal election victories by union members across the state.

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is proud to announce the victories of four union members who were elected to public office yesterday, bringing the total number of rank-and-file union members elected to public office in New Jersey to 499 since 1997.

New Jersey residents voted in several non-partisan municipal elections yesterday. It will be the responsibility of these elected officials to enact ordinances and resolutions for governing municipal affairs, approve or amend their annual budget, authorize contracts on behalf of the city and appoint members of local commissions and committees. Residents of these municipalities can rest assured that the union members elected to office in their towns will make these important decisions, while keeping in mind the ideals of our labor movement and how their policies will best impact working families!

To view a recent example of how union members serving their communities at the municipal level can make a change in the lives of workers, look no further than the recent smoking ban in Atlantic City, which will improve the working conditions of tens of thousands of workers at Atlantic City casinos. The ordinance was passed by a City Council that includes a number of union members and graduates of the Labor Candidates Program and was signed into law by Mayor Scott Evans, who is a member and local officer of the Fire Fighters (IAFF).

Council members who have taken part in the Labor Candidates Program support workers’ rights to form unions from a position of leadership and authority and sign onto neutrality agreements with public employees trying to form a union. They also are in a unique position to ensure that municipal properties are built and maintained by union labor, by signing onto project labor agreements that prevent contractors from low-balling bids by undercutting wage levels for skilled workers.

Frequently, these candidates run for office at the local level and gain experience to later run for county or state offices. That was the case with New Jersey Assemblyman John F. Amodeo, who began his political career as a councilman in Linwood and later as assemblyman provided a key vote for passage of the Paid Family Leave legislation through our state Assembly. The bill was signed into law earlier this month.

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is proud of all the rank-and-file union members who seek election to public office through the Labor Candidates Program. In partnership with the AFL-CIO central labor councils, Building Trades Councils and all affiliated unions, we rejoice in the local victories of the newly elected labor candidates and look forward to celebrating our 500th labor candidate victory with our state’s labor family in November.

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