Posts tagged Phil Murphy

    Bitter strike over as nurses, N.J. hospital reach tentative agreement after 120+ days

    December 3, 2023 // For months, the union members went without paychecks and benefits, which the hospital had cut off in September. The two sides were at a standstill, and for a time, it was unclear how they would find a path forward. The strike drew national attention, as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) visited Rutgers University in October to hold a Senate committee hearing on the labor dispute and hospital staffing guidelines. At the event. Sanders expressed support for the nurses and the ratios they sought while lambasting hospital leaders for not appearing. The hospital — ranked the fifth best in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report — had maintained that strict staffing ratios would not allow it the necessary flexibility during times of high patient volume. But many nurses said they were working in untenable conditions, often forced to juggle five or six patients during a given shift, which they said impacted the patients’ well-being as well as the nurses’ ability to provide adequate care.

    Biden-backed wind power company cancels New Jersey projects despite $1B in subsidies

    November 1, 2023 // Under the Inflation Reduction Act, renewable developers stand to receive tax credits of up to 30% for qualifying investments that use union labor, and more credits if the project meets additional criteria. White House spokesperson Michael Kikukawa said in a statement that “momentum remains on the side of an expanding US offshore wind industry,” despite the collapse of the Ocean Wind project. “While macroeconomic headwinds are creating challenges for some projects, momentum remains on the side of an expanding U.S. offshore wind industry — creating good-paying union jobs in manufacturing, shipbuilding, and construction; strengthening the power grid; and providing new clean energy resources for American families and businesses,” Kikukawa said.

    Who will control New Jersey’s ports now that the state has withdrawn from Waterfront Commission?

    August 17, 2023 // The commission’s death was a triumph for Gov. Phil Murphy, whose administration took the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, and his allies in the International Longshoremen’s Association, the maritime labor union that has controlled hiring at the port for decades. In late July, Murphy traveled to the union’s international convention in Hollywood, Fl. to celebrate the victory and salute the man he calls a “dear friend” and “partner in growing the New Jersey economy,” ILA President Harold J. Daggett. “I am happy to report that as of last Monday, the commission has been officially dissolved,” said Murphy, addressing more than 1,000 cheering union members assembled in the grand ballroom of The Diplomat Beach Resort. “Now we can finally begin to turn the page, and together, I look forward to starting a new chapter at our ports.” Murphy’s speech came a day after a profanity-laced address by Daggett, who promised a “painful” comeuppance for union foes and companies that would attempt to replace workers with automation. He vowed to cripple port commerce next year if the union’s contract demands aren’t met. “Mark my words! There’s going to be an explosion,” Daggett said. “Someone must take the bull by the horns, and that’s me… Don’t f–k with the maritime unions around the world. We will shut you down!”

    ‘Many of us are struggling’: why US universities are facing a wave of strikes

    April 24, 2023 // Thousands of workers at universities have gone on strike in 2023 amid new union contract negotiations in demand of pay increases that align with the effect high inflation rates have had on the cost of living. The strikes are a continuation of wave of industrial action in higher education in the US last year. In late 2022, 48,000 graduate workers and post-doctoral researchers went on strike throughout the University of California system, the largest strike in US higher education history. There were 15 academic strikes in the US in 2022, the highest number of strikes in academia in at least 20 years.

    Supreme Court gives New Jersey, shipping industry and unions a win in New York ports case

    April 19, 2023 // The Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey can withdraw from the Waterfront Commission Compact it had with New York to police corruption in the shipping industry in the waterways the states share. All nine of the Supreme Court’s justices voted in favor of the ruling, which dismissed arguments by New York in favor of forcing New Jersey to stay in the compact. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion.

    Rutgers faculty suspend strike after reaching tentative deal

    April 17, 2023 // Striking faculty at New Jersey's Rutgers University returned to classrooms Monday after reaching a tentative agreement on a new contract to boost wages and provide other benefits. On Saturday, the three striking unions representing more than 9,000 faculty members announced they had reached a "framework" agreement with Rutgers administration on new contracts, allowing more than 67,000 students to return to classes. The unions have been on strike since last Monday. The Rutgers' unions — AAUP-AFT, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union and the Rutgers AAUP-Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey — said the tentative deal includes "major victories" but said there are still "open issues" that have to be resolved before they put the contracts before their membership for a vote. "We have only suspended the strike, not canceled it," they said in a joint statement. "If we don’t win what we need on these open issues, we can and will continue with the work stoppage."

    Rutgers president won’t rule out legal action to block strike

    April 12, 2023 // Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway won’t rule out the possibility of legal action to block the ongoing strike from Rutgers University’s faculty unions. In a Monday evening email addressed to “Members of the Rutgers Community,” Holloway said that the university “will have no choice but to take legal action” if “there is no movement towards an agreement.” Gov. Phil Murphy personally intervened earlier to delay Rutgers from taking legal action to block the three unions from their ongoing strike. Holloway also alleged in the Monday evening email that protestors entered and disrupted a class where there was a “critical exam” that was underway. A university spokesperson did not respond to questions for more details on the incident.

    Laufenberg sentenced for stealing union funds

    November 18, 2022 // George R. Laufenberg, a former commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, admitted in June that he had stolen pension fund and made false statements to the U.S. Department of Labor. U.S. District Court Judge Kevin McNulty also imposed a $20,000 fine on the former labor leader. Federal prosecutors said that Laufenberg took the funds under a deferred compensation agreement that he was not entitled to. He was the administrative manager of the pension fund. The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters fired Laufenberg in 2016. In 2018, they also terminated John Ballantyne, the former secretary-treasurer of the union and a political ally of Gov. Phil Murphy. Ballantyne alleged that he was forced out after emerging as a critic of Laufenberg.

    N.J. public worker premium hikes, Murphy deal with unions will cost taxpayers. Leaders are baffled.

    October 18, 2022 // Murphy, a Democrat, did strike a deal with several state worker unions to mitigate their costs, enraging local leaders and unions representing town and county workers who warn of higher property taxes and layoffs. In the end, New Jersey taxpayers will shoulder the lion’s share of the rise in costs, but exactly how much remains a mystery. The Murphy administration hasn’t provided an exact amount and did not answer questions from legislative officials during budget negotiations.

    This fresh blow to newspapers — and our democracy — must be stopped | Editorial

    October 4, 2022 // For nearly two centuries, and across the country, the job has been done by contractors who are not classified as employees of the newspapers. But now the state Department of Labor is strictly enforcing a law that’s been on the books since the FDR era, upending tradition by ordering these workers to be treated as employees. That means newspapers, or the firms they hire to handle delivery, would have to pay taxes to cover benefits like unemployment and disability, just as they do for full-time employees. It would cost the Star-Ledger, already diminished by layoffs and buyouts, about $3 million a year. The state’s intentions are good, even if its swing is a bit wild. This is part of a movement, mostly in progressive states, to combat the spread of abuses related to contract work. It was inspired first by the growing use of lower-paid contract workers on constructions sites, many of them working full-time and standing shoulder to shoulder with regular employees. And contract work has exploded in the gig economy, at companies like Uber and Grubhub.