Well, here is the YouTube video from last week’s Civil Service Commission vote.
This puts it out there on a far more permanent basis, since the NJN website recycles each story after one week. The fallout continues. Yesterday, the PBA which represents 33,000 police officers, CWA which represents about 55,000 public employees, AFSCME, firefighters union and others went to court to block the furloughs.
According to the PBA’s motion, the emergency rule change approved last week can only be done without public hearings when there is “imminent peril” facing the state. They are arguing that the budget crisis does not rise to that level. But as the Star-Ledger points out today, similar challenges have failed in other states including California. Of course, Jersey ain’t California…but you get the idea.
Two schools of thought on this. One is that public employees have had it pretty good for a long time including lifetime benefits and pensions when they retire at age 55. Obviously, a furlough is a vast improvement over a layoff, the world is changing and they should feel lucky to have jobs given what is happening in the private sector economy.
Of course the counter to that is furloughs will likely hit the unionized workers who can least afford it the hardest. Those who may not be getting the same benefits packages because they were recently hired, and those who are certainly making a lot less for that same reason.
There are certainly some structural flaws in how this state operates. But union people vote. And like in every merit-based Democracy – fair or unfair – those who vote call the dance.