New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who won office on the strength of AFSCME’s support, said Thursday that he – unlike his predecessor, Chris Christie – respects working people and the unions they form and supports the work unions do in fighting for their communities.
The day he won the election, Murphy told delegates to the 43rd International Convention, “Eight years of Chris Christie’s attacks on labor, particularly public organized labor, came to an abrupt end. … Instead of being told to ‘sit down and shut up,’ labor now finds a seat at the table.”
Murphy is proof that elections have consequences. His union-backed victory underscores why working people must work hard to elect pro-worker candidates, especially to state-level offices.
As AFSCME sharpens its focus on gubernatorial elections this November, Murphy endorsed that approach: “I have long posited that, in this current atmosphere, governors and states will have never mattered more. Long the laboratories of democracy, states are now finding ourselves the front line of defense for our democracy.”
After several rounds of negotiations, AFSCME members and the Murphy administration were able to reach a tentative agreement on a new contract with for public service workers who had been without a contract since 2015. Murphy supports raising the minimum wage and expanding earned sick leave for all. He’s also working to increase infrastructure spending.
Speaking of his vision, Murphy – a Massachusetts native – said, “We will promote the dreams of the middle class and those who aspire to be in the middle class, just as I did as a child growing up in a working-poor family a few miles from here.”
Soon after Murphy was elected with support from AFSCME and other Garden State labor unions, his administration reached a deal for a new contract with AFSCME-affiliated public service workers who hadn’t had a contract since 2015.
The Murphy administration and the pro-worker legislature, anticipating an adverse ruling in Janus, passed the AFSCME-backed Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act, which expanded organizing rights for public service workers.
“Now, the rights of workers to organize and form a union, and for unions to communicate with their members, are protected in New Jersey even as they are being weakened in other states,” Murphy said. “So long as I am governor – and, I hope, for years after I leave this office – New Jersey will continue to stand in support of workers’ rights, and the rights of unions to act on their behalf.”
AFSCME members went door-to-door to introduce voters to Murphy during his 2017 campaign. AFSCME New Jersey launched an aggressive AFSCME Strong campaign in which members connected with other members at their worksites and homes to discuss their union and Murphy’s candidacy.