You mean there’s someone else running for Governor besides Corzine and Christie? Yup – his name is Chris Daggett, an Independent, and he has quickly weighed in on Christie’s decision to slight the NJEA by resisting a summons and neatly wedged himself right in between the two main party candidates.
PolickerNJ reports that Daggett said,
Absolutely I will ask for their [NJEA’s]endorsement. We have a number of positions that may be different, but my view is you have to engage people, and I’m happy to do that. You have to engage your opponents and your proponents. This is not about the NJEA or me, this is about New Jersey, and being governor requires a conversation with a broad range of people.
Daggett’s comments are reasonable, although it’s hard to blame Christie for declining a meaningless exercise with an organization with sinking stock. Right now, dissociating oneself with NJEA is a politically savvy move; Christie’s purposeful tweak of their fealty to Corzine plays exactly right, especially with the recent media scurry around the fact that only 12% of the 200,000 NJEA members contribute anything to their health insurance premiums.
A blog called “In the Lobby” remarks,
Local school districts are going to need help from the state when it comes to negotiating new contracts with the NJEA. We’ve already seen, with too much clarity, how Corzine continues to put the interests of the public sector unions ahead of the taxpayer.
Imagine what would have happened if Corzine, instead of just agreeing to reduce the number of furlough days from 14 to 9, defer a 3.5% raise by a year, and sign a no-layoffs pledge through 2011, had negotiated instead another .5% or even a 1% increase in the amount employees pay toward health insurance, in exchange for job security.
But we’ve already seen that Corzine doesn’t stand up to the public sector unions. He stands with them, against the taxpayer.
If local school districts and municipalities are going to be successful in requiring contributions toward health insurance premiums, they are going to need a strong governor in Trenton who’s got their back. One who’s not afraid to make the union leadership unhappy.
We already know that won’t be Jon Corzine.
Corzine needs to extract himself from the union sidepockets. On the other hand, 200,000 is a lot of votes. How many members are there of CWA? Maybe he’s got the right idea.