Christie administration and the NJEA at odds over benefits

The Christie administration and the NJEA are at

The Christie administration and the NJEA are at odds over benefits. (Credit: File photo)

TRENTON - New Jersey’s largest teacher's union says it will fight the Christie administration's legal attempt to force the labor group to participate in meetings to help determine benefits for public school teachers and retirees.

New Jersey Education Association President Wendell Steinhauer said Wednesday that the union will oppose Attorney General Christopher Porrino's effort to compel the group's three representatives to attend a meeting about health benefits for teachers.

Judge Mary Jacobson on Wednesday granted Porrino's request to require the NJEA to explain why it missed meetings to set rates. Porrino said in court papers filed Tuesday that the union's failure to attend meetings delayed efforts to set rates before open enrollment on Oct. 3.

Porrino said the School Employees' Health Benefits Commission cannot vote on a proposal to save taxpayers $70 million.

Gov. Chris Christie wants to reduce benefits to save $250 million. The union is opposed.

Last week, the union said the board could not do its job because the governor failed to fill a labor vacancy.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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