Assembly leader wants union contracts protected in Atlantic City takeover plan

New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney

New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney

The leader of New Jersey’s Assembly said he will block any bid to take over Atlantic City that gives the state the ability to cancel collective bargaining agreements.

Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson, said any attempt to save the financially distressed city should not include canceling union contracts for police officers, firefighters, and other city workers.

“We don’t need to destroy collective bargaining rights to fix Atlantic City,” said Prieto, who noted that state officials already have the power to influence the city’s finances.

“I will not run roughshod over collective bargaining rights when it’s clearly not necessary.”

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In recent months, state officials including state Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, have floated several plans to intervene in Atlantic City. The most recent version would allow the state to cancel union contracts. Similar legislation is pending in the Assembly.

No takeover bill has gone up for a vote in Trenton.

Prieto also called for a meeting between state leaders and city officials to work out a compromise.

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