Labor leaders in blue-leaning New Jersey, still licking their wounds after losing a fight over pension and health benefits in the Democratic Legislature last month, are being told a new anti-union bill doesn't stand a chance.
The Democrat who leads the state Assembly, Speaker Sheila Oliver, said New Jersey won't become a battleground over allowing public- and private-sector workers with union shops to opt out of joining or paying dues.
A right-to-work bill, barring union dues from being deducted from the paychecks of public employees, was quietly introduced last week amid a scathing partisan battle over the state budget.
"Workers ought to have the ability to decide whether they want to join a union or not," said the sponsor, Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, the top-ranking Republican on the Assembly Budget Committee. "If the unions can make a case they can benefit workers, I'll withdraw the bill. If they fail to make that case, why should the government order people to join or comply?"
He said the opt-out legislation helps control building costs and therefore encourages economic growth.