Charles Wowkanech

Wowkanech backs up national AFL-CIO endorsement of Obama

A day after John McCain Republicans pulled the curtain off their campaign headquarters in working class Woodbridge, the national AFL-CIO endorsed Barack Obama for president and the state organization’s chief reaffirmed support for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

"At our convention we unanimously adopted a recommendation to endorse Obama," said newly re-elected AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. "Our program is up and running. We’re doing voter registration projects and getting information out to job sites.".

McCain’s New Jersey supporters are targeting what they describe as "Reagan Democrats," or working and middle class voters, including primary election supporters of Hillary Clinton.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Wowkanech could face challenge for union post

There is considerable speculation that New Jersey Building Trades Council President Bill Mullen is weighing a bid for New Jersey AFL-CIO President against longtime incumbent Charles Wowkanech. Wowkanech has been feuding with a substantial wing of the state Democratic Party since last year after he backed some Republican legislative candidates in some hotly contested races. Mullen is viewed as a potentially strong challenger to Wowkanech, if he decides to make the race.

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AFL-CIO: No candidate can get 2/3 vote for endorsement

The New Jersey AFL-CIO, which said today that they are neutral in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, is not expected to make any endorsement before the June 3 primary because neither Frank Lautenberg nor Rob Andrews can get the two-thirds majority needed to win the formal backing of the union.  This reflects poorly on the state AFL-CIO President, Charles Wowkanech, who prematurely announced support of Lautenberg yesterday. 

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AFL-CIO president backs Lautenberg over Andrews

AFL-CIO president Charles Wowkanech backs Lautenberg over Andrews.AFL-CIO president Charles Wowkanech backs Lautenberg over Andrews.

As south and north Jersey locals today sparred with statements of support for either U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg or potential challenger U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech said he backs Lautenberg.

"I polled my executive board of 40 members and the level of support was overwhelmingly for Lautenberg," said the head of New Jersey's one million-strong labor organization.

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Roberts keeps Wowkanech in the dog house

N.J. AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech with top Democrats in 2002.: Now that he's feuding with the Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, he couldn't get on a stage like that today.N.J. AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech with top Democrats in 2002.: Now that he's feuding with the Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, he couldn't get on a stage like that today.
When you pick the wrong horse in a harsh political battle, paybacks in politics are often extraordinarily difficult.  That’s what New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech is finding out, now that he is “persona non grata” with Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and the extended Roberts political organization. 

The Star-Ledger’s The Auditor had an important report on the Roberts/Wowknech feud last Sunday, and since that print version of that column sometimes differs from the online version, here are some excerpts worth noting, especially considering the players involved:

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Labor euphoric over passage of paid family leave, while Lonegan fumes

When the state Senate pasAFL-CIO President Charles WowkanechAFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanechsed paid family leave today by a vote of 22-16, AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech admitted he felt a particular sense of satisfaction after a hard, 12-year trudge.

"We're exhausted, but we're very happy," said Wowkanech, whose outfit numbers 1 million strong in New Jersey, and who remembers first trying to float the idea of paid family leave over a decade ago.

What the Senate passed today was a bill that enables employees to pay into a fund that would allow them to receive compensation while taking up to six weeks off from work to care for their own health or the health of a relative. According to the bill, "an amount not to exceed $25 million may be transferred from the state's temporary disability fund to the new account to support start-up costs." The program is designed to run on the monies employees pay into the funds, which amounts to about $33 apiece annually.

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Paid family leave sure to be a "squeaker" come Monday

Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, one of the sponsors of the Assembly version of paid family leave, which came out of committee today.Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, one of the sponsors of the Assembly version of paid family leave, which came out of committee today. 

The lobbyists' feeding frenzy continued in Trenton today as representatives from both the business and labor communities zeroed in on lawmakers in the hallways of power and attempted to elicit the promise of a yes or no vote on the issue of paid family leave.

The measure would extend state liability insurance to employees for up to six weeks, enabling workers to care for themselves, a newborn or a sick relative. Funding would come from the workers contributing on average a dollar a week from their salaries.

Read More > Winner of the Year 2007: George Norcross

Sonny McCullough said it best in his election night concession speech: “I’d like to congratulate George Norcross.”

Norcross had a very good year for two reasons: he won the two races he was most heavily invested in, and he made tens of millions through the sale of Commerce Bank. The first expands his political power, and the second gives him even greater financial security – something that, in New Jersey, will make him even more powerful.

The General of the South was one of the driving forces behind the elections of Democrats Jeff Van Drew and Jim Whelan to the State Senate. He showed that his money and manpower could oust incumbents – hardly pushovers – in tough races. His ability to raise money – quickly and in large denominations – can stop a team of oxen dead in their tracks. He doesn’t let people tell him no, and gets that few New Jersey politicians have the testicular fortitude to turn him down anyway.

Whelan’s victory, particularly, gives Norcross added clout with the Atlantic City gaming industry. And Asselta’s defeat showed that Norcross’ support is more important than the active endorsement of New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech.

After the election, Norcross quickly endorsed a longtime rival, Richard Codey, for Senate President, and then got his man, Steve Sweeney, elected Senate Majority Leader – evidence that the truly successful know how – and when – to use their power. His friendship with Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts gives him incredible sway in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature. His alliance with Senator Raymond Lesniak gives the Norcross machine an embassy in the north.

Norcross faces new challenges in 2008: he is positioning to pick up a congressional seat the Republicans have held since 1884 – maybe even a second one, if Jeff Van Drew runs— and if Frank Lautenberg changes his mind, is well positioned to help Rob Andrews win a U.S. Senate seat.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 19th

NBC News: Federal charges ruled out for Christie in Bridgegate scandal NBC News tonight is reporting that federal investigators say after nine months of investigating Bridgegate there is 'no evidence" that Gov. Chris Christie had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures at the...


Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >


Sports and politics do mix: Welcome the next NFL Commissioner, Condi Rice          There are many sports fans who insist on believing that old bromide that sports and politics do... more »
(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“The fact is that they’ve been digging around for eight months now and have found absolutely nothing. Wrap up your work. Do your job." - Gov. Chris Christie

- PolitickerNJ


Should the Joint Legisaltive Committee investigating Bridgegate 'wrap it up?':


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