Coleman stands in for Buono, rallies CWA troops

TRENTON – Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman stood in for Sen. Barbara Buono – who was unable to attend the CWA Local 1033 meeting here Thursday – and sought to rally one of the gubernatorial candidate’s staunchest sources of support.

Coleman accepted a $3,800 check from the Communications Workers of America Local toward Buono’s campaign against Gov. Chris Christie.

Buono, the presumptive challenger to Christie, is behind in money and in the polls, but Coleman sought to inspire more than 100 union members who turned out at the War Memorial and remind them of what is at stake.

“She sacrificed her leadership position’’ to become a candidate and fight for the issues important to CWA, Coleman said of Buono.

Not only did Buono oppose the pension and benefits reform, but she is fighting against the changes Christie wants to make to public education, the Lottery, and other key state programs, Coleman said.

Coleman, a frequent critic of the governor’s policies, told the CWA members that “nothing he does is about lifting up’’ workers.

Buono, delayed because her train had to change engines, did address the audience briefly by speaker phone and thanked them for their support and for lending their energy to her campaign.

CWA members listened to updates on two issues on which they continue to oppose Christie: Lottery privatization and the Civil Service “broad banding’’ proposal.

Coleman told the members that the Lottery is one of the state’s most successful programs, yet the administration wants to privatize sales and marketing jobs.

It wants to award a 15-year pact to run the Lottery to a private entity, Northstar, and CWA, which lost a round before a hearing officer this week, is continuing to fight in the courts.

CWA members were told that if the Civil Service change goes through, the doors will be opened to cronyism and favoritism, the very things Civil Service is supposed to protect against.

Coleman stands in for Buono, rallies CWA troops