Chris Christie is apparently doing all he can to be Mr. Republican leading up to the 2012 Veepstakes and that includes pulling a Ronald Reagan on the Building and Construction Trades unions who he has previously had a relatively positive relationship with. It has been announced that the New Jersey Department of Labor will cut funding to the BUILD Program that both promotes diversity in the skilled trades and allows people a path to a solid career:
It came to light yesterday that the New Jersey Department of Labor is gutting the BUILD program, which provides job training for women and people of color getting into the building trades. Just last year Christie labor commissioner Harold Wirths made the announcement of $760,000 in grants a major part of his speech at the building trades convention. But as of yesterday, it became apparent that Christie was grabbing $6 million from the program to help fund his tax cut for millionaires.
What’s more, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader, Tom Kean, Jr., yesterday introduced legislation that Christie had previously failed to popularize which also targets the state’s Building Trades unions:
The bill attempts to accomplish what Gov. Chris Christie could not. Shortly after taking office, Christie wrote an executive order including unions in pay-to-play restrictions, which are intended to end the practice of giving lucrative contracts in exchange for political contributions. But Christie was rebuffed by a state appeals court, which ruled that the ban Christie wanted would have to be done through legislation…
The bill was part of an ethics package Christie outlined last year, but no legislators introduced it. It states that any labor union that enters into a collective negotiations agreement, including a project labor agreement, with the state would be banned from giving more than $300 to state political parties and legislative leadership committees.
Perhaps the new dedication to undermining vital, construction union-backed efforts will give Christie an extra talking point during the Vice Presidential vetting process. Or, perhaps this was the fast one Christie was waiting to pull all along. Either way, any shred of bipartisan support the Governor might have enjoyed with the state’s politically mixed bag of construction unionists is sure to begin evaporating henceforth.