10th District Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. continues to receive endorsements for re-election in the upcoming June Primary. This week the Newark Democrat, who represents a portion of Bayonne and Jersey City in Hudson County, plus a majority of Essex County and a portion of Union County, gained the support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) New Jersey.
Representing over 30,000 current and retired government employees, AFSCME is one of the state’s most prominent progressive labor organizations and a force for workers’ rights, expanding access to health care, voting rights and more.
“Congressman Payne has been a true champion for so many of the issues our members care about most,” said Steve Tully, Executive Director of AFSCME NJ. “He’s a co-sponsor of the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, a bill that would expand our members’ collective bargaining rights and make it easier for them to fight for improved wages, benefits, and working conditions. That’s just one way that Congressman Payne is standing up not just for AFSCME members, but for the labor movement as a whole.”
In addition to co-sponsoring the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, Congressman Payne has championed many other issues that are critical to AFSCME and the labor movement as a whole. The Congressman supported President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which provided billions of dollars in funding for state and local governments to prevent layoffs in the health care and public health sectors and ensure that essential government services remained active during the pandemic. He was an original co-sponsor of the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in 2020, which expands various labor protections related to workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. Congressman Payne voted in favor of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, another key legislative priority for AFSCME.
“For the past two years AFSCME members have been on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, ensuring that New Jersey residents have the services and support they need from our government. Their crucial work solves problems ranging from everyday municipal and county issues to food insecurity, vaccine distribution and so much more,” said Congressman Payne. “It’s never been more clear how important these men and women are – the term essential worker is often overused, but in the case of AFSCME members it could not be more relevant. I’m thankful for their support and proud to have their endorsement. I pledge to always stand with working families and the labor movement.”
Congressman Payne received the endorsement earlier this week from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. “Congressman Payne was born in Newark, raised in Newark, and has spent his career fighting for Newark residents – nobody understands our community the way he does,” said Mayor Baraka. “When we faced a public health crisis with thousands of lead pipes that had to be removed to protect our residents, Congressman Payne stepped up immediately with federal funding to get the project started. That’s the kind of leadership we need from our representatives in Washington, and it’s why I’m proud to stand with Congressman Payne.”
“The City of Newark is incredibly fortunate to have a leader like Mayor Baraka at the helm, because he’s fully committed to both revitalizing the community and protecting what makes it such a truly unique and special place,” said Congressman Payne. “There’s nowhere else I would want to live than the South Ward of Newark, and no one I would rather have at my side than Mayor Baraka. I thank him for his support and look forward to supporting him and his team in their own election in May.”
In recent weeks, Congressman Payne has been endorsed by the New Jersey Education Association, the Communications Workers of America NJ, Laborers’ International North America Eastern Region and the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association. He also recently announced the support of U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
Photo Credit: Oakley Campaign Harvard Law School graduate and Pro-Democracy activist Imani Oakley is challenging Congressman Payne in the June 7 Democratic Primary election, as is Akil Khalfani, a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Africana Institute at Essex County College.
Photo Credit: Dr. Akil Khalfani District 10 is the only Congressional District in New Jersey having a Black majority. Payne has represented the District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2012.