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Discussion Starter #1
What are your thoughts on Christie's proposal? It seems like everyone in NJ thinks it's a perfect solution - except the teachers. LOL Personally, I don't see what the big fuss is - take a pay freeze this year and contribute 1-1/2% to your healthcare, which will significantly reduce the 820 million dollar cut to state funding for education. Hell, I haven't had a raise in 2 years, I'm just thankful everyday that I still have a job.
Full story from NJ101.5 :
Governor Christie has sent a letter to the NJEA and the School Boards Association - calling for public school employees to step up to the plate - and make some financial sacrifices to offset proposed cuts in state aid to education.

During a visit to a Somerset elementary school, Christie said the total amount cut to state funding for education is 820 million dollars and "if in fact teachers and school employees were to take a one year salary freeze and contribute 1 ½ percent to their health benefits, that would generate savings of 800 million dollars to the school districts"

He says the small contribution to health benefits would mean - for the typical teacher "750 dollars for the year - that's literally 2 dollars a day - now, people spend more than that on coffee a day… the teachers union has said oh, the Governor is being too tough on us, and he doesn't want to have a dialogue, OK - here's the letter, I'm asking you to join the shared sacrifice"

Christie also says if the NJEA is unwilling to do this - "if they choose to put their personal interests ahead of the interests of the state, then every one of those laid off teachers - every of those cut programs falls at the feet of the NJEA not at the feet of the governor of New Jersey…their slogan is it's about our children - well if it's about our children… don't worry about it, forgo your raise… forgo your raise like people in the private sector have been doing for the last couple of years - forgo your raise like non-union state employees have done for 4 years."

Later in the day, the NJEA released a statement reacting to the Governor's request.

The President of the Teachers Union Barbara Keshishian is quoted as saying "Governor Christie has called on school employees to voluntarily subsidize school district budgets in order to make up for the cuts he has imposed already this year, and those he intends to impose in next year's budget."

"In New Jersey, school employees' contracts are negotiated locally, and each local association may decide whether or not to reopen its settled contract. However, NJEA members will not be bullied by this governor into paying for his misguided priorities. Despite his preposterous claim that state funding for education has actually increased, the truth is that the governor has slashed more than $1.3 billion from direct aid to local districts through his executive order last month and the budget he proposed earlier this month. Those are his priorities, and he is responsible for their consequences."

"We are dismayed at this Governor's priorities and tactics. He has rejected out of hand the possibility of extending a surtax on the state's wealthiest residents; those individuals making more than $400,000 per year. Under the surtax, they were asked to pay an additional tax on any income over $400,000. That tax amounted to well under 1.5 percent of their total income, but generated enough revenue to fill a large portion of the gap in the governor's education budget."

"Instead, Governor Christie proposes that all school employees in New Jersey contribute 1.5 percent of their far more modest incomes to fill the education funding gap that his priorities have created. The total impact on income is much greater, since they are also asked to forgo a portion of their contractually negotiated salary. This is a wrongheaded attack on the incomes of middle and working-class New Jersey residents. It is wrong to ask the women and men who work in our schools to take a hit to their incomes while he refuses to ask the same of the wealthiest people in the state."

"In his typical fashion, Governor Christie is talking at school employees, not with them. He shared his letter with the media well before he shared it with NJEA. If Governor Christie would ever like to have a genuine discussion, conducted face to face among serious people, rather than through press releases and media stunts, we stand ready to meet with him. But we will not stand by while he attempts to coerce school employees into bearing the full burden of his wrong-headed educational priorities."
 

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Do they currently contribute nothing to their health care premiums? If that's the case, then I think that 1.5% is pretty reasonable. If they are already contributing, then it might be a different situation. In this day and age, I don't think you can expect your employer to pay 100% of your premiums.
 

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I work for a private school and am NOT part of the NJEA but... I am all for it! I pay 90 % of my health care cost and am in a 2 year wage freeze. I feel that the NJEA is under the impression that what ever THEY want is "FOR THE CHILDREN", if your a good teacher your health care cost and wages don't enter into the classroom.
 

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Do they currently contribute nothing to their health care premiums? If that's the case, then I think that 1.5% is pretty reasonable. If they are already contributing, then it might be a different situation. In this day and age, I don't think you can expect your employer to pay 100% of your premiums.
I am not in NJ, but from what I understand the NJEA & teachers in alot of districts contribute $0 to their health insurance premium costs. In many cases they have the richest benefit plans available. Of course the NJEA is howling like a wounded banshee over this, you would think Gov. Christie has asked ONLY them to make concessions such as this. I can't imagine the wailing that will occur when the axe starts falling & teachers get laid off because of the NJEA's refusal to work this out.

I know the school district (Bucks County, PA - Neshaminy School District) I live in here in PA is trying to negotiate a new contract with the teachers. These greedy little buggers are asking for 3.5-4% pay raise per year & continued no contribution to their health benefits. Considering the economic situation we are in, I think that is ludicrous at the least. As Mama3tikes says, some teachers and a lot of "regular" people (i.e. not teachers), if they have jobs, have not had pay raises in the last few years & some have even taken pay cuts, but they STILL HAVE JOBS, which is the most important part of all this.
 

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Not in NJ, and do not know the history there. But if there has not been a salary freeze through this recession, what makes the teachers think they are exempt from what almost everyone else in this country has had to give up? Maybe give up is the wrong term, more like taken away. And if their health insurance is totally paid for with no contribution on their part, welcome to the real world teachers. Everyone else pays some percentage towards their health insurance. I would love to only have to pay 1.5% of my gross towards my health insurance. That would be more than 50% less than what I currently pay.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's right, WE pay for their healthcare and their raises each year, with the taxes we pay. They are supposed to get a 4-5% raise this year.
I can't imagine anyone being thrilled with what is essentially a 1.5% pay cut.
What do you mean?
 

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I can't imagine anyone being thrilled with what is essentially a 1.5% pay cut. :rolleyes:

What do you mean?
Agreed!!!! Seesh... looking at these economic times 1.5% pay cut is minimal. My younger sister is a Certified Physician's Assistant. The practice she works for is struggling & they just hit all the employees with at 20% pay cut.

While I can't speak for others, I would not be thrilled about taking a pay cut, but if it was the difference between staying employed or being laid off, I would suck up & learn to deal with the pay cut.
 

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My opinions are very different from the teachers and, safe to say, our full time paras. I'm all for what Christi is doing. And, not even knowing that he was going to suggest it, I told our building rep a couple of weeks ago that I would be willing to take a pay freeze. Having a job is more important to me than a raise.

Do they currently contribute nothing to their health care premiums? If that's the case, then I think that 1.5% is pretty reasonable. If they are already contributing, then it might be a different situation. In this day and age, I don't think you can expect your employer to pay 100% of your premiums.
I don't know about other districts, but our teachers and full time paras don't pay a cent for their premiums. It was figured out that for someone making $50,000 a year, the 1.5% contribution would cost them $500 a year. We paid way more than that a year towards our health insurance when Ken was working. I really don't see the big deal in them contributing.


...I feel that the NJEA is under the impression that what ever THEY want is "FOR THE CHILDREN", if your a good teacher your health care cost and wages don't enter into the classroom.
BINGO!

ETA- btw, I'm a part time non-instructional paraprofessional. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
...I feel that the NJEA is under the impression that what ever THEY want is "FOR THE CHILDREN", if your a good teacher your health care cost and wages don't enter into the classroom.
Exactly, Terri!!

Do they not understand that if they do this, they will be saving their jobs? So now when the pink slips start coming out next year, they'll all be whining.

I love this governor, I really do. I just hope he loses some weight so we don't lose him to a heart attack or something. He's the first governor we've had that's actually had a set.
 

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I find it totally reasonable.

But am not surprised at the reaction: Hell hath no fury like a teacher's union scorned.
 

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Hell hath no fury like a teacher's union scorned.
Yup!!! They'll go on strike in the middle of the school year, thus causing all those kids, they claim to be doing everything for, will be the ones who pay for it.
 

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I think it is completely reasonable. I'm not so sure that the cuts he is making to higher ed are survivable for some Colleges in NJ - particluarly the smaller private Colleges. One I know of in New Jersey may fold. They are losing 1.8 million state dollars at a school where they were scraping by to start with.

And - I don't really agree with EOF being cut by 9%.
 

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I don't know about other districts, but our teachers and full time paras don't pay a cent for their premiums. It was figured out that for someone making $50,000 a year, the 1.5% contribution would cost them $500 a year. We paid way more than that a year towards our health insurance when Ken was working. I really don't see the big deal in them contributing.
With our health insurance and supplemental dental and vision, we pay that per month! It'd be nice to have insurance for only $500/year.

I'm not from the area, but it sounds reasonable to me. If I were in that situation, I'd take a small pay cut now to avoid possibily losing my job in the future. I'm sure once the economy rebounds, they can go back to their annual raises.
 

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I think it is completely reasonable. I'm not so sure that the cuts he is making to higher ed are survivable for some Colleges in NJ - particluarly the smaller private Colleges. One I know of in New Jersey may fold. They are losing 1.8 million state dollars at a school where they were scraping by to start with.

And - I don't really agree with EOF being cut by 9%.
Sharon, What College?I have to say that back in the late 70's when I was in college I knew that I did not want to be a "union teacher" they just don't seem to do right by the special ed teachers. The pay freeze I am in the mist of is one thaty we the teachers came up with so the non profit I work for could have a little extra to make building improvements. There has to be a way to really put education first!
 

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Mine does. I work for a state university. We have Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Mine does too, 100% for employees and also family. I'm sure they just pay lower salaries accordingly.

Teachers aren't really different than any other group of employees - none of us are happy if we don't get a raise, or if we do get a pay cut, or if some benefit is cut or becomes more costly. So it isn't surprising they are upset or trying to do something about it. And is isn't surprising that an employer is trying to cut costs.
 

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Mine does too, 100% for employees and also family. I'm sure they just pay lower salaries accordingly.

Teachers aren't really different than any other group of employees - none of us are happy if we don't get a raise, or if we do get a pay cut, or if some benefit is cut or becomes more costly. So it isn't surprising they are upset or trying to do something about it. And is isn't surprising that an employer is trying to cut costs.
Maple, The NJEA is not in favior of cutting cost That is the problem! (well, a big part of the problem!)
 
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