Education worker federation of 30,000 endorses candidates who stood up for collective bargaining

EDISON…Endorsing a fewer number of candidates in November’s legislative elections translates into a focus on contributing to key wins and recognizing legislators who stood up for collective bargaining in the June pension and health insurance debate, according to American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) political education co-chair Jon Erickson. “Our committee recommended a few challengers to threaten Republican incumbents since the GOP voted as a block to limit public workers’ collective bargaining rights,” said Erickson, a Kean University Public Administration Professor. “As per calls from our members, we did not endorse any candidate—Democrat or Republican—who voted in favor of the pension and health insurance benefits legislation euphemistically termed ‘reform,’” he said. “We are asking our members to work with us in defending Democratic legislators in competitive districts in both the House and Senate who have consistently been advocates of workers’ rights.”

The union federation is mobilizing members to knock on doors, make phone calls and have workplace discussions about candidates who actually make a difference, said Erickson’s political education co-chair, Elizabeth Gray, a high school teacher in Garfield. “There is an unfortunately high-level of cynicism among union members these days,” said Gray, who is also an officer with the Bergen County Central Labor Council. “We need to have discussions about legislators who are trying to protect workers’ rights and put people back to work so we can emphasize the importance of voting and getting involved,” she said.

See full list of endorsed candidates.


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