TRENTON – At first it looked like a remake of Ben Affleck’s The Town, that movie wherein burglars in rubber masks lay siege to the streets, but this was actually a case of the guys in charge of locking up those guys taking to the streets in masks – their donned faces of choice unmistakably a matter of very pointed politics.
Bearing coffins and wearing Chris Christie masks, livid corrections officers stormed the plaza outside the Statehouse Annex this morning demanding that the legislature revisit a workman’s compensation bill that would give their ranks full disability benefits.
Christie last week vetoed S-929/A-1908, a bill sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), who wants to succeed the sitting Republican in the governor’s mansion.
Today, corrections officers led by labor leader Lance Lopez, president of PBA Local 105, made the case that Democrats need to revisit the legislation, override the governor’s absolute veto, and secure 100% workers’ compensation for corrections officers hurt in the line of duty.
“You’ve got friends in the Democratic caucus,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20), who spoke onstage along with Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7).
But the workers and their leaders made it known they want more than friends. They want action, and they want it now.
“Push our bill! Push our bill! Push our bill!” the chants sounded in the packed courtyard.
The officers roundly jeered and booed whenever anyone invoked Christie’s name. Several of them sported masks and wore t-shirts adorned with an image of Christie lookalikes serving as the pallbearers at the funeral of a corrections officer. They seethed over Christie’s appearances as a presidential candidate in states like Texas and Florida – which guarantee full disability benefits to corrections officers – while vetoing A-1908 in his home state.
“What the hell is wrong with that man? He can’t be president of the United States, he can’t even take care of New Jersey,” roared one speaker.
Lopez objected to Christie’s campaign trail argument that President Barack Obama is weak on crime even governor deprives of corrections officers their basic rights.
For a PolitickerNJ video of today’s rally, go here.