As reported by app.com, New Jersey’s largest state worker union filed an unfair practice charge against Governor Chris Christie’s administration, saying the administration has so far refused to negotiate health care costs.
The Communication Workers of America filed the charge with the state Public Employment Relations Commission (“PERC”) on May 12, 2011. Union leader Hetty Rosenstein said the union has met six times with the Governor’s staff, but the administration will not respond to CWA’s proposal on health care benefits.
The Republican Governor has made a national name for his fights with union leaders, especially teachers. He has said he wants state workers to pay a greater share of their health care costs and wants to achieve those changes through legislation rather than collective bargaining, while at the same time insisting he “loves collective bargaining.”
“When is Governor I-love-collective-bargaining going to negotiate?” Rosenstein said. Christie Spokesman Kevin Roberts said negotiations are still in the early stages and are ongoing.
The CWA is pushing to reform benefits through collective bargaining rather than legislation and has also put forward a plan. It would have workers continue to pay 1.5 percent of their salary and 8.5 percent of their premium by the fourth and final year of a new contract. It says that would save the state more than $200 million.