Striking Verizon workers could receive N.J. unemployment benefits under a bill now working its way through the New Jersey legislature. It already passed the New Jersey Senate Labor Committee. As NJ.com’s Samantha Marcus reports in the New Jersey Star-Ledger:
Striking workers could be eligible to collect unemployment benefits in New Jersey under a bill approved by the state Senate Labor Committee on Monday.
The bill is aimed at assisting Verizon workers who've been on strike for a month, but would change the rules for receiving unemployment insurance for all during labor disputes.
Verizon employees from the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers filled the Senate hearing room beyond capacity Monday as the panel heard this bill. . . .
This is a political ploy. Even if the bill manages to get through the entire legislature, Governor Chris Christie is likely to veto it. But the fact that it was even proposed, let alone voted out of committee, makes this worth commenting on. Judging by the comments section, there isn’t much general support for the bill either.
I left these comments:
Government officials, especially elected officials, have a constitutional and moral responsibility to represent all people equally and without bias. It’s called equal protection of the law. This means the officials should not take sides in private contractual disputes unless fraud or physical coercion (rights violations) are evident. It’s bad enough to consider allowing striking workers to collect even though they are off the job voluntarily (Vitale’s embarrassingly rationalistic “really almost (been) forced to be off the job” comment notwithstanding). It is vulgar for the legislature to use taxpayer money to dish out special favors to one politically connected union, which is explicitly the reason for this bill. It is blatant cronyism that could enable the union to extract concessions from Verizon by legal coercion rather than legitimate voluntary agreement. (And then will these workers be made to pay back the illegitimately collected unemployment funds with the ill-gotten “negotiated” Verizon benefits they will have “won” because of the taxpayer backing?)
As a lifelong union member, I oppose this bill. I once participated in a 6-week strike. It’s hard. But I never considered that the taxpayers should subsidize me during the time I was out of work while we voluntarily exercised our right to strike for personal gain.
Shame on this committee. If it passes the legislature, I hope Christie vetoes it. No wonder New Jersey is considered the corruption capitol of the nation.
I might add that I oppose government-mandated and/or government-run unemployment compensation schemes. The proper role of government is to protect every individual’s right to manage his own affairs, so long as his actions don’t violate or interfere with the same rights of others.
"Greed" is a Two-Way Street