AFL-CIO leader Wowkanech criticizes Latino Leadership Alliance’s support for Christie

A clash of two NJ Latino leadership groups – one backing Gov. Chris Christie and one backing state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) in this year’s gubernatorial contest – roused the state leader of the AFL-CIO, who sides with Buono.

“There is an apparent disconnect between certain leaders of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ) and the Latino community, evidenced by the organization’s recent endorsement of Chris Christie for Governor,” stated Charles Wowkanech, New Jersey State AFL-CIO President. “Christie’s policies do not reflect the interests of the Latino community and in many ways work against New Jersey’s Latino families.”

The one million-member-New Jersey State AFL-CIO represents and advocates on behalf of many Latino union members and their families across the state of New Jersey.

“Christie’s record, when it comes to Latino families, is hardly a basis for endorsement. On issue after issue, such as the minimum wage, funding our schools, social services, health care, and jobs, Christie has abandoned the Latino community,” said Passaic County Central Labor Council President Juan Negron.

“He vetoed the minimum wage bill which would have provided workers a long-overdue raise and would have helped address New Jersey’s rising poverty and income inequality. He cut vital education funding to our schools and has made it a priority to achieve a State Supreme Court makeup that will further reduce funding to Abbott Districts where a majority of Latino families reside. He has hurt the community by cutting tax credits for the working poor, cutting various social services, cutting funding for women’s health care, cutting financial assistance for college students, and cutting funding for New Jersey’s higher education institutions which has caused tuition costs to rise,” Wowkanech added.

Two days after Christie received the support of the Latino Leadership Alliance, Buono breakfasted with the Latino American Democratic Association of Bergen County (LADA) at a well-attended event. 

Attendees included state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Bergen County Democratic Committee Chairman Lou Stellato, and Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D-36), and Democratic Party fundraiser Cid Wilson.

“The Latino community has cause to be outraged by LLANJ’s endorsement of Chris Christie for Governor,” Wowkanech said. “Normally, community organizations endorse candidates who support the policies that their members believe in. LLANJ’s endorsement of Chris Christie, who has frequently opposed the interests of the Latino community, goes against this logic.”

“It is shameful that a few leaders of LLANJ have decided to misrepresent the interests of the Latino community for the sake of their own political agenda. Since LLANJ will not speak on behalf of its members, it is imperative for the Latino community to speak out on behalf of itself,” added Negron.

AFL-CIO leader Wowkanech criticizes Latino Leadership Alliance’s support for Christie