Gov. Christie Vetoes Sandy Project Labor Agreements ExpansionJoshua Alston of Law360 ($$) reports that yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed S2425, a bill that would have expanded the definition of "public works project" to include bridges, highways, and water treatment plants. Defining such structures as "public works" would have opened the bidding for reconstruction up to project labor agreements, which Gov. Christie believes would slow down the recovery and rebuilding processes.

“This bill would significantly alter public contracting in this state at a time when the swift reconstruction, rebuilding and redevelopment of public infrastructure is a priority,” Christie said.

The President of the Senate expressed his disappointment in the veto, saying that project labor agreements would bring new jobs into the state.

“This administration continues to see no problem with the recovery effort being led by out-of-state companies employing people not from New Jersey,” [Senate President Stephen] Sweeney said. “It simply lacks sense to not try and have as many people as possible from this state employed in rebuilding it."

At this point, there are no plans to tweak the bill for a new vote. However, we will keep you posted if things change.

More ULPs Filed Against Palermo’sGeorgia Pabst of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that a union representing workers at Palermo Villa, Inc. has filed unfair labor practice charges against the company, alleging that Palermo fired two workers in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. In related news, seven Milwaukee aldermen sent an open letter to the company yesterday, urging Palermo to meet with its employees in order to resolve a wage dispute that has now lasted for ten months. 

"We are concerned that the continuation of labor strife through lengthy legal processes, local and national boycott campaigns at supermarkets and campuses, and other activities are damaging to longtime and new employees alike, and will keep bringing negative publicity to Palermo’s management and to our city as well," said the letter addressed to Palermo Villa.

Palermo did not respond substantively to the allegations, other than to issue a blanket denial. We will keep you posted as the investigation moves forward.

Teachers in North Pocono Set to StrikeStacy Lange of reports that teachers in North Pocono, PA have notified administrators that they plan to walk off the job this coming Thursday. Last night, the teachers’ union rejected a last-minute proposal from administrators that would have averted the coming labor unrest.

While the teachers have been working without a contract since June, the strike notice comes as somewhat of a surprise because North Pocono teachers have never before walked the pickets. Apparently, the main sticking point in negotiations is out-of-pocket health care costs, an issue neither side plans to move on anytime soon. We will keep you posted as the situation develops.