TRENTON – Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vitale issued the following statement after the Governor conditionally vetoed legislation (S-2160) he sponsored with Senate President Steve Sweeney that would have extended unemployment insurance benefits to workers on strike during a labor dispute:
“The Governor’s action is disappointing and a disservice to New Jersey workers who are forced to strike as a last resort in their pursuit of fair compensation and treatment during a labor dispute. His conditional veto not only guts the intent of the bill, but it leaves individuals vulnerable to poor employment practices.
“Striking workers not only lose their wages in their struggle for fair pay, but also risk losing their health benefits. Failing to provide unemployment compensation leaves workers and their families who may be in the midst of receiving medical treatment stranded without health benefits or any income to pay for their medical expenses.
“Every worker deserves to be fairly compensated and to be treated with dignity, but there must be some recourse if negotiations fail. For many, going on strike is the only option, and we should not be punishing them for fighting for their rights.”