Recent news from New Jersey shows that the power of labor unions, even in one of the bluest of blue states, is not preordained to win every battle. As with Wisconsin and right here in Ohio, common sense has won out, at least temporarily, over apocalyptic rhetoric.
From the New York Times,
“New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday approved a broad rollback of benefits for 750,000 government workers and retirees, the deepest cut in state and local costs in memory, in a major victory for Gov. Chris Christie and a once-unthinkable setback for the state’s powerful public employee unions.
The Assembly passed the bill 46 to 32, as Republicans and a few Democrats defied raucous protests by thousands of people whose chants, vowing electoral revenge, shook the State House.”
This sounds eerily like the news that came from both Wisconsin, and downtown Columbus, earlier this year. However, what is striking about this is where it happened- New Jersey!
Yes, New Jersey; a state well known for being one of the most unionized states in the entire nation. While the state did elect a conservative governor, not something easy to do there, who could have imagined that the legislature would go along with plans to trim union worker benefits?
Indeed, it seems something is in the air in Jersey, something like freedom.
Of course, there will be a battle over the legislation and its possible the effort will eventually fail or be overturned.
That is much like the situation confronting Ohioans in the wake of Senate Bill 5. Should SB 5 be repealed later this fall, Ohio might as well get the Department of Transportation to hang “Closed for Business” on all those signs you pass when you cross into Ohio from our neighboring states.
Again, from the Times,
“But Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, a Camden Democrat, said, ‘These reforms are unquestionably bitter pills for us to swallow, but they are reasonable and they are necessary.’ He added: ‘We now have towns across this state that are struggling to afford health benefits for their employees. This has resulted in cities laying off workers.’”
Those are honest words and they are words that mirror what many of our own elected officials here in Ohio said about SB 5.
Remember them. They are important and they should cut through the noise about to be unleashed by the defenders of the status quo. Also, remember, if New Jersey can do this, Ohio certainly can and must.
In the meantime, arm yourself with key information about the myths regarding SB 5.