UNION, NJ – Members of the Laborer’s International Union of North America (LIUNA) staged a protest in front of the office of Senator Ray Lesniak on Stuyvesant Avenue Wednesday morning.
The road workers are protesting the state’s failure to fund the Transportation Trust Fund and Governor Chris Christie's subsequent shutdown of several transportation projects.
“We are parents of an 11-month old baby,” said David Dugan, who attended the protest with his wife, Nicole. Dugan said his unemployment benefits have ended, he is behind on his mortgage and has no income coming in. “We need to get back to work,” said Dugan. “We need something to happen. Not tomorrow. Now.”
Despite of the shutdown, the township has chosen to move forward with the road programs already under way in Union, including work on Washington and Walker avenues. “We have an obligation to our residents to ensure their safety especially where it pertains to streets that are direct routes to two of our busiest schools,” said Union Mayor Manuel Figueiredo.
“Every one of these members out here were working and are now not working as a result of the shutdown,” said Roger Ellis, business and governmental representative for the Heavy and General Construction Laborer’s Local Union No. 472. Ellis said the Senate is not acting and “we are encouraging the Senate to put a bill together, working with the Assembly Speaker, to put a bill on the Governor’s desk that he will sign.”