NJ Public Workers To Stage Large Protest Over Pension & Health Insurance Reform

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New Jersey’s battle over benefits could hit a fever pitch today.

Thousands of public workers are expected to stage what leaders vow will be their biggest Statehouse protest yet over a controversial bill to force them to pay more for health insurance and pensions. The bill is up for final passage in the Assembly, which would send it to Gov. Chris Christie, who is expected to sign it swiftly.

Leading up to today’s battle, a state workers union chapter Wednesday filed a federal suit against the state saying its contract was broken because pension payments were skipped. And Christie pitched the plan at a town hall where he was booed by some teachers.

At a town hall in Fair Lawn, Christie said the measure, a focal point of his agenda, is needed to restore the state’s fiscal balance and ensure the solvency of the pension fund.

“We have support with both political parties to do this,” Christie said. “It isn’t like other states.”

Fair Lawn schools finished for the summer Tuesday and a group of teachers packed the meeting. The crowd was less friendly than most of his meetings: half the attendees booed when he went through his proposals, and the other half, supporters of the governor, clapped louder in an attempt to drown them out.

“As always in our democracy, there will be people who disagree,” Christie said, acknowledging the dissenters.

Lauren Gimon, a math teacher at Fair Lawn High School, joined a group of about 50 teachers who stood on street corners out the meeting holding signs and waving at passing cars. Gimon said she’s hopeful the efforts by public employees to rally in Trenton and across the state will have some influence.

“It made a difference in Wisconsin,” Gimon said.

With passage in the Assembly seeming almost inevitable, one union began what could be the first of a several court battles. Local 1033 of the Communication Workers of America filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming the state failed to meet his contractual obligations when it didn’t contribute to the pension system.

READ MORE: NJ STAR LEDGER


7 COMMENTS

  1. The unions and their entitlement mentality are destroying our country.

    May Hashem bless Chris Christie and grant him the strength to do what needs to be done.

    On a related note…

    I listened to Rabbi Yaakov Spivak the other night, and he was talking about how economic crises lead to anti-Semitism.
    Interestingly, in Greece (where they have a huge crisis), there was a shul burned during Pesach, and just the other day, the Hellenist goyim desecrated a cemetery for Holocaust survivors.

    These tough economic times and spending-splashing may lead to riots, as we’re already seeing in these liberal/welfare/entitlement states. Terrible, terrible stuff.

  2. L’havdil ben eluf havdala…this is a blood libel against public employees. I raise again something I talked about in an earlier post.

    I have a friend who makes $78,000 in a human resources State job in NJ…he has 26 years in. He told me last week that he now pays a little over $52 every two weeks for medical insurance for himself and his wife, a figure that will grow to $258 every two weeks under the legislation that Christie and Sweeney are selling as essential “reform” – his TAKE HOME pay will be reduced by some over $5,300 a year.

    If you righteous citizens feel good about this, feel triumphal and good about it…then be “man enough” to admit your anger and hostility…but please…don’t justify or fool yourself by making out these changes to be some sort of meaningful and just “reform,” one that does nothing more than make my friend, and thousands like him, simply bare “their share” of the downturn.

  3. Christie is ruining New Jersey especially for those who work and worked to keep it going.

    It is VERY expensive to live in Jersey and getting more expensive. Christie’s attitude that the well is dry and getting dryer, has to go.

    His attitude that New Jerseyans should expect nothing new, and what we have will be cut in half, would be terrible even if he gave us a break at the cash register and state taxes and property taxes.

    Dont ripoff the workers of this state. A deal is a deal. They did the work.

    Christie, move your heavy body and bring innovation and business to NJ. Find ways to let the businessman work without your inspectors and tax men breaking their backs.

  4. 2, Sorry but if we dont have the money, they will have to contribute more. We pay enough in taxes in NJ already. The fact that your buddy will have to pay more for his benefits is a drop in the bucket.

    Public sector unions as well as govt workers have been living high on the hog for long enough. I pay 18% of my income just for my family’s health insurance so my heart bleeds green and purple borscht for them!

  5. Mark Levin…if “we” the political collective don’t have the money, the public sector employees have to foot the bill, that’s what you mean…and you ignore completely the example I set out.

    The 26-year employee I am referred to in #2 is going to get a 12% reduction in his take home check…and he and thousands of his his peers are middle class taxpayers as strapped as any of you.

    Raising revenues as PART of a budget reform package that includes more modest increases in public employee contributions would be fairer and would work…Republican unyielding opposition to any revenue increases isn’t policy anymore…it’s part of the new theology that is today’s Conservative religion, and it makes no more public policy sense than do liberal left positions that would never touch entitlement spending.

  6. More for you Mark Levin…

    Your comment that public workers have been living high on the hog is conclusory…and cheap scapegoating.

    Just what is “high on the hog?” Answer in the context of the example I have set out in #2…otherwise your comments are an excercise in mean spirited, dataless, hot air abstraction…sort of like Jews have controlled the banks for too long

    I’d like to compare your total compensation package with a public sector employee doing the same work…or my my friends…how often in the past 5 years you have received a raise…as well as the perks private sector professional employees typically are allowed (tax deductible lunches and junkets, client trips and the like)…perks that public sector employees are prohibited from having.

    On the larger issue, NJ really is a finacial mess, and the public unions with their cozy “partners” in State government certainly had a hand in this situation. But the bigger hands were those of administration after administration, of both parties, playing fast and loose with budgets and pension funding requirements, coupled with the complete lack of any management oversight apparatus in this State. But none of this justifies a financial assault on State workers who have no say in either their government or in their pathetic union locals…and who are being terribly hurt by this.

  7. “YonasonW”, why is the state any different from any public company? If the company is doing well, then they can hire workers and give greater benefits. However, if the company is not bringing in money, then the company has to figure out a way how to stay afloat. NJ is heading for Bankruptcy. There is no more money. If the money is lacking, then every employee has to take a pay cut. What you don’t seem to realise, that its hard out there for all of us. We all are struggling. Do you think its fair that on top of the taxes I pay, I should pay higher wages, so that YOU can keep your benefits???? P.S. I don’t get Health Insurance, and a pension when I retire.