Paterson Teacher to Senate President Steve Sweeney at Path to Progress Event: ‘So You’re Punishing Us’

Insider NJ's Fred Snowflack discusses Gov. Phil Murphy's reluctance to apply pressure to Democrats in the NJ Legislature in order to get the programs and legislation he wants supported and how it is hurting Murphy's administration.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) engaged teachers and CWA workers in Newton on Tuesday night at a stop with Senator Steve Oroho (R-24) on his Path to Progress tour.

In reference to the New Jersey Education Association’s (NJEA) failed attempt to dislodge Sweeney from office in 2017, Paterson high school teacher Ed Henderson in the video shown above said, “So you’re punishing us.”

A second source in the room objected to the tone set by public sector workers in opposition to the senate president.

“Not only did that gentleman try to shout over the speakers at every chance he got [making it difficult for those of us in attendance to learn], but he completely mis-construes and mis-represents Sen. Sweeney’s statement, as evidenced in the video,” the source griped.
“The question asked was in reference to whether all unions would be affected by changes in the funding formula[s],” he added. “In response, Sen. Sweeney states that other unions that did not weaken their funding formulas in the past, and were on solid footing, should not be ‘punished’. The disgruntled teacher then makes the leap by stating ‘So You’re Punishing Us’, which is not what Sweeney said.”


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20 responses to “Paterson Teacher to Senate President Steve Sweeney at Path to Progress Event: ‘So You’re Punishing Us’”

  1. The response from Sweeney’s “source” is a liar.

    The video clearly shows that. He is not including police and Fire unions because “Why would he punish them?” He said that! If he’s leaving them out to not punish them, what is he doing to the groups he is including? It sounds like he’s doing the opposite of “not punishing” them to me.

  2. The response from Sweeney’s “source” is a lie. Which the video clearly shows.

    The video clearly shows that. He is not including police and Fire unions because “Why would he punish them?” He said that! If he’s leaving them out to not punish them, what is he doing to the groups he is including? It sounds like he’s doing the opposite of “not punishing” them to me.

    • I assume you are the Ed Henderson quoted in the story. Listening is an important concept. The video CLEARLY does not reference ANYTHING regarding an “attempt to dislodge” him (Sweeney) from office, which is what you attribute to “punishing us”. When asked about other Unions’ potential reforms, his point is clearly that the Unions that used, and continue to use, sound funding formulas have no need for drastic action — unlike the Teacher’s Union that wants to pay in little funds and receive a lot of funds in return. That’s unrealistic, unsustainable and shows a lack of economic understanding. You played, now you have to pay.

      • “Why should they be punished?” It’s right there. Not altered. Perhaps listening is a skill you need to focus on as well? Read the “Path to Progress” while you’re at it. The failure to fund pension system, as stated by Sweeney is the result of the failures of governors and legislatures. Why should anyone be expected to clean up the mess of the leadership of this state when it’s clearly their fault. Teachers and other unions pay the agreed amount. It isn’t their fault the system was ransacked by previous leadership.

        • So, you wish to hold current Governors and Legislators responsible for the sins of past Administrations? If current Legislators and Governors don’t make the necessary hard decisions, who do you expect will? Its also interesting that the actuaries and other leaders of some Unions didn’t throw up a red flag when the changes to funding (dropping from 5.5% to 3.5%, increasing retiree payouts, etc.) were made. There’s a LOT of blame to throw around – for all – but if the “Path to Progress” isn’t adopted, where do you think we’ll be in 5 years.

          • Yes. The state is an entity that should be held accountable for its decisions and required to fix its own mistakes without violating the agreements they have made. Want to change pensions? Fine. It needs to start at year one though. Not “5 and under.” Where thousands of people are having the terms of their agreement altered.

            Don’t borrow and not pay back. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Maybe cut some of the bloat out of the budget and stop throwing money around likes it’s water. Take care of your obligations just like the rest of us do. The state government should not be allowed to renege on any and all deals at any time. They agreed to the terms. We, the citizens don’t get to back out, why should they?

          • You are correct, a contract should be held to its terms. Unfortunately, the Union leaders (and rank & file) have already reaped their rewards from their sweetheart deals, in return for votes. Now its proven to be too sweet. Why should one group of NJ residents (teachers, that have already spent their sweet deals) force 8.5 million other NJ residents to pay for their dessert?

          • Well, teachers haven’t spent their sweet deals. They’re having it taken away, as are the other unions affected. The tax payers shouldn’t have to contribute a dime more than they are already. There’s plenty of money to fund all the responsibilities of the state if our leadership would control their spending. Instead of allowing our legislators to spend 4000 dollars on steak dinners, maybe we should have a spending freeze until we can figure out where all the waste and leaks are. But we both know that won’t happen. You are right, it shouldn’t come from the citizens. Taxes are high enough. I believe we should force the government to fix things with the funds they have and not give them a penny more until they can prove themselves.

          • Absolutely! We (NJ) has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Unfortunately, we have Governors (of all stripes) that just keep giving away the store. How did Murphy get elected on a platform of “higher taxes” and “sanctuary state”? Someone has to pay for all of this. Why are we spending money making it easier for illegals to live here? Why are we paying for their lawyers to stay? Why do legal, law abiding tax payers have to pay full tuition for their college kids while illegals get subsidies? I don’t know anyone that voted for that turd, yet he is in office by a majority of votes…..

          • The old “fraud ,waste ,and abuse” argument! Don’t tax people just find FWA! Sorry….this will not solve the pension problem.

            The Sweeney plan hurts no current vested member and actually continues to give all now and future employees a pension. CWA has no plan. Neither does NJEA. The taxpayers cannot bail it out and the employees cannot pay more.

            So…….. simply pass the plan that is on the table.

          • ah the ol “pass whatever pile of shit is on the table because it’s not my problem and we should continue to allow our leadership to violate our trust and abuse our already way too high taxes” argument. People like you are the reason why our state is in this crisis – “just blindly trust the government.” Good luck, they’ve done a great job so far.

          • See problem…fix problem. The pension fund CAN be stabilized with the Sweeney plan. Fixing Fraud, waste ,and abuse is a noble goal which should be pursued ,but that would take years.

            Fix the problem that can be fixed! The Sweeney stabilization reform is not even getting a ” look see” by CWA leadership because of their blind hatred for the person. That is wrong.

          • When was the last time any of these plans fixed a problem? Spending needs to be addressed first. Otherwise they will continue to borrow and steal to cover it. It’s that simple. Plans don’t work when the leaders are broken

          • Again ,unfortunately you are avoiding the here and now issue. LOL ,you sound like every CWA leader I ever met!
            Debate the plan , Tell me how the Sweeney plan WILL NOT stabilize the pension fund. Give me your alternative . I AM ALL EARS !
            But do not give me Fraud ,waste, and abuse as the ” answer” .

          • I’m not avoiding anything. they can’t even tell us how it will work. Have you read the document? It’s all “shoulds.” Should do this, should do that, but no explanation of how. And what the shoulds don’t work out? Then what? It’s An incomplete proposal at best. If you trust that document, I’m happy for you. I’m not naïve enough to think that THIS time it’ll work.

        • History does not pay the Bills.

          The Sweeney pension stabilization plan DOES NOT HURT ANY CURRENT EMPLOYEE!!

          I have requested that my CWA leadership show me their plan to stabilize MY pension and they have never answered.

          Tax the 85% of taxpayers who are not government employees to fix the fund. Sure, that will go over real well!

          The CWA leadership has to stop looking in the rear view mirror and address what is in front of them. The childish screaming and stomping of feet at Town Hall meetings will not resolve anything.

          Sweeney stepped up with a plan! It is time for CWA to put up or shut up!

          • It hurts any employee under 5 year anyway and changes your healthcare. No one wants to tax more. We want the leadership to put back the money they stole, fix the problem they made, and not do it on the backs of the people they stole from.

            Chapter 78 was meant to fix a problem, guess what? Still a problem.the only solution is for leadership to step up and fix what they broke. Not the workers who held up their end and are about to get screwed.

          • Sorry, but just like the CWA leadership you gave me no answer, just an airing of grievances.
            Where is billions going to come from? Without structural changes a fix is impossible. You can not tax your way out of this.
            I do not care about Chapter 78 or any other history. A fix is needed and the only plan right now is the plan from the Senate President.

            So once again to all CWA leaders …WHERE IS THE CWA PLAN???

          • You mean the money that we’re taxed every day of every year that’s completely mishandled? That’s where it should come from. The money that’s already in the revenue steam that’s being wasted by our leadership.

            The fix is, like I said, to control spending. You might not care about the “history,” but you should because they continue to rob and fail us. Are you dumb enough to fall for it again? They need to be held accountable for wasting our money before i give them anymore of it or let them.

            I can see youre bitter about your union, as I am with mine. They failed us too. But allowing the state to get away with breaking more promises is a cheap way out. We don’t pay them for us to come up with a plan. This needs to get kicked back and be rewritten with “after a spending freeze and audit..”

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