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Union Members Picket Van Drew’s Office; Want Transportation Trust Fund Action

Union Members Picket Van Drew’s Office; Want Transportation Trust Fund Action

By Press Release

COURT HOUSE – More than 100 members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) demonstrated Aug. 15 outside of the district offices of four state senators. Among them was the office of First District Sen. Jeff Van Drew. 
The members conveyed the message with signs: “Do your work and fix the TTF so we can do our work fixing the state’s transportation infrastructure.” 
The demonstrations are part of a larger campaign in which union members will visit state elected officials every day, often several each day, until legislation to fund the state’s insolvent Transportation Trust Fund is passed and signed into law.
Members, most who live locally, demonstrated at the district offices of Sens. Jim Whelan and  Van Drew in Southern New Jersey and Sens. Robert Gordon and Loretta Weinberg in Northern New Jersey. 
Each day LIUNA members will visit different elected leaders and intend to do so until the TTF crisis is solved, according to a release.
More than 1,000 LIUNA members have been laid-off as part of a state shutdown of road and bridge projects in New Jersey. In the upcoming weeks, more than a thousand more are expected to lose their jobs. They will join several thousand other workers on the unemployment line as a consequence of the state-mandated shutdown.
LIUNA Vice President and Regional Manager Raymond M. Pocino described the sentiment of workers who have lost their jobs due to the impasse. “They are frustrated by the inaction of our leaders, anxious about how they will pay their bills and care for their families during this shutdown, and are resolved to address their concerns with the elected leaders who are failing to find a reasonable solution to this very serious problem.”
Laborers Local 472 Business Manager Tony Oliveira represents more than 8,000 heavy and highway construction workers in Northern New Jersey and is unsure if elected officials understand the damage being done.  
“The fact that the TTF is insolvent is no surprise. Everyone knew for years that this day would come. What is surprising is the total lack of urgency while New Jersey families and businesses suffer the consequences.  If our leaders faced the challenges that workers and local businesses are enduring, this thing would have been solved before it started,” said Oliveira.
“It is important that our leaders know that the crisis is very much here,” said Laborers Local 172 Business Manager Tony Capaccio who represents close to 3,000 heavy and highway construction workers in Southern New Jersey.
“They may not see the worker who is struggling to pay his mortgage or send her child to college this fall. They might not see the small business suffering because customers can’t reach their store because of a road closure. They may not see the deteriorating bridge that has been left unattended. All of these troubling stories are out there, and it is not getting better, but worse.”
Aug. 15 marked the 46th day since Gov. Chris Christie ordered a shutdown of TTF-funded projects. Despite the plea from the union as well as business and environmental groups among others, there are no plans for the State Assembly or State Senate to meet anytime soon.
The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) represents more than 40,000 construction workers in New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, Delaware, and Puerto Rico. LIUNA is at the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

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