Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NJ Public Sector Union members pay 1.5 % of their health care - Gov. Christie wants to implement a 70-30% split - Guess who is unhappy???

I want you to imagine you are going into see your Boss today because the company you work for is looking at the increasing cost of benefits. They have to figure out a way to deal with the rising costs and need to make sure they can afford the cost of employing you and your coworkers.

Is this the way the conversation would go?

Employee: Hey Boss, I don't want to have to pay any more for my benefits.

Boss: Well the Finance group has reviewed the situation and it looks like the employees will have to pay for 30% of the premium. The company will still pay the larger 70% share. I know that is not the best news but we'll still be footing the majority of the cost.

Employee: Hey, you have to negotiate that with me....I get to have a say in how much I have to pay.

Boss: No, you don't really. We are running a business here and we have to have the ability to make some decisions based on what we feel is best. A 70-30 ratio is still very generous as some companies are pushing for a 60-40 or even a 50-50 split. After all, you work for me, remember?

Employee: Well I don't like it and I am going to protest....I'll get the other employees to protest too.

Boss: Not on work time. You need to work as directed or we can find someone who will. After all, the company needs to have all employees working to their fullest ability or we could lose business to our competition and then there will be no jobs for any of us.

Employee: This is unfair. You have to let me have a say in the way things are run here.

Boss: No. You work for me. I will listen to your ideas and suggestions but as the Boss, I have the final say.

This is the basic scenario you would see in most companies. You would not be happy to see increased costs but the 70-30 ratio is still generous...They would need you to work as directed.

This is the way it would go unless of course you work in a Public Sector in NJ where the public sector employees only pay 1.5% of their benefit costs and the taxpayers pick up the rest. Or in Wisconsin where the public sector employees skipped work for weeks and still got to have their jobs when the protests were done.

How would that go over at your job ??? How long could you skip work or act defiant before you would be shown the door?

Gov. Chris Christie is going to change the share the NJ Public Sector employees pay to a 70-30% split and the unions want to negotiate about that. Like many other Chief Executives (especially for the company you likely work for), he has stated that this is not negotiable.

But because we are talking about a public sector union, they are NOT HAPPY with having to bite the bullet like the rest of us.....they are special....they need to be coddled. Especially since they want someone else to pay for what they are getting.


Look, I would like to say that all of us could have more say in the conditions we are offered and be able to negotiate for better benefits BUT in this day and age, the economy is driving many businesses out-of-business. Massachusetts has been losing business as the cost of doing business here is too high and they cannot make a profit, thereby enabling them to stay in business.

The Public Sector Unions don't care if the states lose money or if the cost of benefits goes up because they want the cost to come out of YOUR POCKET, not theirs.

They like to say they are asking to negotiate but they have been taking the free ride on the back of the taxpayers for too long. While the majority of us have been looking at increases in the cost of our benefits for decades, they have been enjoying only paying 1.5% of their own the extra $$$ for your benefits is something you have had to deal with and they want you to pay for them too....Does this make sense to anyone BUT the Unions who are looking for a FREE RIDE?

I support Gov. Chris Christie in his fight against the Unions and hope that we can reign in the outrageous costs borne by the taxpayers so that the days of the Public Sector Employees enjoying a free ride on the backs of the taxpayers will become history.

Christie refuses to negotiate health care cost increase with N.J. public unions

Ed Murray/The Star-Ledger
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TRENTON — Representatives for Gov. Chris Christie have told the state’s largest union that the administration’s plan to sharply increase health care costs for public employees was not negotiable, union leaders said today.

The governor’s office first took the issue of health care costs off the table last Friday when negotiations over a new contract got underway. But union officials said they were determined to have a voice in changes to their benefits.

"It represents a pretty fundamental attack on a long-established right to bargain over health care which goes back as long as there has been unions in New Jersey," said Bob Masters, political director for the Communication Workers of America, which represents that state’s public employees. "We are going to insist that our legal right to bargain over health care be honored by this governor as it has been by every governor."

Instead, a spokesman for Christie said the governor planned to stick to his plan to have state employees to pay 30 percent of their health care premiums by requiring it through having the legislature enact a law. Union members currently pay 1.5 percent of their salary for health care coverage.

"We and the Senate president are pursuing that area in the same way through legislation," the spokesman, Michael Drewniak, said.

Christie contends that he does not have to negotiate over increasing health care costs because in the past the unions, at least in some instances, appealed directly to the Legislature.

The last time employees saw an increase in their contributions was in 2007, when Gov. Jon Corzine reached an agreement with the union requiring members to pay 1.5 percent of their salary for benefits.

Masters said the governor’s office could not provide an example of the union skipping collective bargaining.

A spokesman for the Assembly Majority, Tom Hester said it was the responsibility of Christie’s office to engage ion collective bargaining with the union.

"This governor spends a lot of time bragging about his ability to shake up government," Hester said, "so it’s time for him to back his talk and prove his worth at the bargaining table, where health insurance matters have traditionally been decided."

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