Rally rhetoric gets hot in the heat

TRENTON – Hordes of agitated public workers stood in thick air and drizzles of rain rallying against pension and benefits reform on State Street today, while earlier today a woman at the microphone told the crowd that their allies inside were sitting down to caucus and that sources said the lawmakers couldn’t hear the cries of “kill the bill” from their seats inside.

Her image was broadcast on a big screen for the crowd, some still trickling in from corners of the state as they began their first big roar of the day.

The Democrats were not caucusing yet, but the crowd was moved nonetheless.

Several protesters moved to the back of the building to get closer to where they thought the party was caucusing.  The raucous crowd shouted at people in the windows, yelling “jump” to a reporter taking video from the second floor.

As a union worker played guitar for the crowd, the woman again interrupted to pass along information. “They swept the room of all of our allies,” the union rally leader said, and are “horse-trading in the hallways.”

Sources told PolitickerNJ that none of the union-friendly Democrats were being removed from any rooms in the Statehouse. The only seemingly congruent information came from one source, who said state police were sweeping the Assembly chamber in preparation for today’s full session vote on the pension and benefits bill.

The Communication Workers of America are conducting the rally, which includes members of several other unions, but questioned, two CWA union leaders – Hetty Rosenstein and Bob Master, who were both off-site at the time – had no knowledge of the claims made by rally speakers and could supply no explanation.

Later in the afternoon, both spoke from the stage themselves, as did state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15), of Lawrenceville, who said it’s a “tale of two states, one rich and one poor.”

She hammered on a millionaire’s tax that Democrats let lapse before Gov. Chris Christie vetoed their re-instatement legislation.

“These are the best times; these are the worst times,” Turner said. “These are the best times if you’re a millionaire.”

Rosenstein picked apart parts of the reform bill, including a state worker health plan management board that would give the state treasurer a tie-breaking vote.

“We rejected that plan,” she said to loud applause.

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TRENTON – Hordes of agitated public workers stood in thick air and drizzles of rain rallying against pension and benefits reform on State Street today, while earlier today a woman at the microphone told the crowd that their allies inside were sitting down to caucus and that sources said the lawmakers couldn’t hear the cries of “kill the bill” from their seats inside.

Her image was broadcast on a big screen for the crowd, some still trickling in from corners of the state as they began their first big roar of the day.

The Democrats were not caucusing yet, but the crowd was moved nonetheless.

Several protesters moved to the back of the building to get closer to where they thought the party was caucusing.  The raucous crowd shouted at people in the windows, yelling “jump” to a reporter taking video from the second floor.

As a union worker played guitar for the crowd, the woman again interrupted to pass along information. “They swept the room of all of our allies,” the union rally leader said, and are “horse-trading in the hallways.”

Sources told PolitickerNJ that none of the union-friendly Democrats were being removed from any rooms in the Statehouse. The only seemingly congruent information came from one source, who said state police were sweeping the Assembly chamber in preparation for today’s full session vote on the pension and benefits bill.

The Communication Workers of America are conducting the rally, which includes members of several other unions, but questioned, two CWA union leaders – Hetty Rosenstein and Bob Master, who were both off-site at the time – had no knowledge of the claims made by rally speakers and could supply no explanation.

Later in the afternoon, both spoke from the stage themselves, as did state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15), of Lawrenceville, who said it’s a “tale of two states, one rich and one poor.”

She hammered on a millionaire’s tax that Democrats let lapse before Gov. Chris Christie vetoed their re-instatement legislation.

“These are the best times; these are the worst times,” Turner said. “These are the best times if you’re a millionaire.”

Rosenstein picked apart parts of the reform bill, including a state worker health plan management board that would give the state treasurer a tie-breaking vote.

“We rejected that plan,” she said to loud applause.<–>

Rally rhetoric gets hot in the heat