The long wait to find out whether New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie would veto a union-backed bill that would to discriminate against union-free construction workers is over.
On Monday, Christie vetoed legislation that was sponsored by State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a union organizer, that would have provided for an expansion of so-called union project labor agreements to include Hurricane Sandy cleanup and reconstruction.
According to Christie’s statement [in PDF], if passed, the bill would have slowed efforts to rebuild after the devastating hurricane.
As has been well-chronicled, Hurricane Sandy was the worst storm to strike New Jersey in over one-hundred years, causing unprecedented damage and devastation throughout the State. Today, millions of New Jerseyans impacted by Sandy continue to rebuild their lives, and their communities. In many instances, this rebuilding process involves the reconstruction and redevelopment of critical infrastructure, including roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, water supply facilities, and sewage treatment plants. Many of these projects would be subject to the provisions of this bill.
Because this bill would significantly alter public contracting in this State at a time when the swift reconstruction, rebuilding, and redevelopment of public infrastructure is a priority, I must return this bill without my approval pursuant to Article V, Section I, Paragraph 14 of the New Jersey Constitution.
Senate President Sweeney fired off an angry response, accusing Christie of “undercutting” New Jersey’s middle class.
The governor’s veto is disappointing because it would have meant work for thousands of New Jersey residents. At a time when the unemployment rate in New Jersey is among the highest in the country, this was really a common sense measure that would have created jobs right here.
Clearly, Christie’s veto upsets unions as it does not discriminate against non-union firms or their workers–which are the majority of construction workers in New Jersey, as well as the United States.
However, the website Truth About PLAs notes that the “New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development found New Jersey PLA mandates increased construction costs by an average of 30 percent.”
Since a lot of the funding to aid in the Hurricane Sandy clean up and reconstruction will be coming from taxpayers across the nation, to drive up construction costs purely for the purpose of discriminating in favor of those who carry union cards is unjustified.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)