AFTNJ Joins Suit Against Health Insurance and Pension Legislation

In conjunction with New Jersey public sector unions, AFTNJ is joining a legal challenge to implementation of June’s damaging pension and health care legislation. The union federation’s Delegate Assembly, its highest decision-making body composed of representatives from each local, voted unanimously to join the legal action.

The suit against Gov. Christie, a Republican, and the Democratic-majority Legislature, says parts of the legislation “impair the obligation of contracts and violate due process rights” by suspending cost-of-living adjustments in pension payments to retirees and continuing to underfund the state pension system.

The suit also charges that the law gives “unrestrained authority” to new pension committees to change benefits.

“I am proud of our members’ activism in opposing this legislation during the Spring,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. She lauded members who wrote letters and signed petitions, met with legislators, talked to the media and demonstrated in Trenton to help beat back some of the worst provisions of earlier proposals.

Chiera said the legal challenge is one component of the 30,000-member union federation’s response to the legislation increasing health insurance costs for members. “As important as the legal challenge is now, that is in the hands of counsel,” she said. “What the rest of us can do is to view this as a reminder that elections matter. For the weeks leading to Election Day November 8, we need to talk to members about the importance of actively supporting progressive candidates who understand that protecting workers’ rights is good public policy, good for the economy and the right thing to do.”