NJ reaches deal with 5 public workers unions to limit increase on health care premiums

Five of New Jersey’s public workers unions have made a deal with the state to ensure that hikes in health care premiums won’t be as large as previously thought.

News 12 Staff

Sep 15, 2022, 10:12 PM

Updated 635 days ago

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Five of New Jersey’s public workers unions have made a deal with the state to ensure that hikes in health care premiums won’t be as large as previously thought. The deal came just a day after hundreds of these workers rallied in front of the State House in Trenton.
“This is a place where employers and unions are on the same side with the taxpayers,” says Tim Haresign, of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals.
The union represents 10,000 faculty, staff and librarians at institutions like Rowan University and other public universities other than Rutgers.
“Our members’ costs will go up. But they will go up less than they would if we had an imposed settlement,” Haresign says.
His union and four others agreed to worker health care contributions increasing 3%, specialist copays to increase by $15 and urgent care copays to increase by $30.
“Was not easy to be able to reach common ground with our state workers and unions that represent them,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at an event in Newark on Thursday.
But while state workers and correctional police officers are in on the deal, those who work for cities, towns and county government, public school teachers and local police officers are left out. All still could pay 12%-24% more on their health care premiums.
“Clearly this is painful, and we accept and acknowledge that. But we can’t do something about something we’re not legally a party to,” Murphy said.
These health care increases could impact state taxpayers.
“So if your school board is being hit with higher costs, they have to cover those costs, and that goes to property taxes,” says Haresign.
In addition to a tax increase, Haresign says there could be a health insurance domino effect impacting private sector workers.
“Health care companies, insurance companies, follow the pack. So they'll look at this as an opportunity to say, ‘Well, look, obviously rates are rising so we need to raise rates in the private sector too,’” Haresign says.
The governor said he is “completely open-minded” to working with lawmakers to help workers who are not covered under the deal announced on Wednesday.


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