User-agent: * Allow: / Trenton Butcher Block: Hey Christie, It Ain't Over till Its Over

"Our Liberties We Prize, Our Rights We Will Defend."

Commentary on national and local events from the standpoint of a Trenton city resident and state worker.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hey Christie, It Ain't Over till Its Over

Yogi Berra was a famous New York Yankees baseball player and manager.  Today he's best known outside of baseball circles for his famous saying, "It ain't over till its over".  Like any other truism that catches on, it is true in many other areas beyond the context in which it was original said.  In a baseball game, all it takes is a rally in the bottom of the ninth and that big lead the other team had evaporates into thin air.  All the fans who left the stadium early then get to miss out on the show they paid to see, a come from behind victory.  The same is true in life and could very well happen in the unions' battle to keep health care a negotiated item, rather than something to be determined by legislation.  All we have to do is believe in ourselves, leeping fighting back, and let our local legislators know their jobs are on the line in the elections this November if they tick off the half million New Jersey public servents covered by the state's health plan.
It's all a question of "which side are you on" as the old union organizing song went.  If  you read the Trentonian  last Thursday, you would think it was all a done deal.  Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver agreed to post the Sweeney bill which will increase pension contributions for workers, require the state to make regular contributions to the pension fund and tequire public employees in state, county and local government, including school districts, to pay drastically more for health insurance.  In a speach Governor Christie made to his bosses at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, he was enthusastic and supportive of the proposal and said he can't wait to sign it.  His corporate masters greated the speach with applause.

Ditto for the Jersey 101.5 radio station.  Both claim passage of the law would be a great victory for taxpayers and help insure higher property tax rebates and lower property taxes.  If you read the Trenton Times on Thursday, you would have gotten a version a little closer to the truth.  This paper promoted the plan as a great victory over crybaby unions, but admitted that a majority of Democrats in both houses oppose the plan and that passage into law is a dicey proposition.   The only way it could pass in the legislature is if the Democratic leadership can strongarm a few other Democratic legislators to vote for it and all Republicans go along.

If you believe in unons and collective bargaining, you should be opposed to this bill.  Of course if you work for state of local government, the cost and quality of your health benefits are on the line.  For everyone else, remember te plan to cut retiree benefits and make everyone pay more is a national program being waged against government workers everywhere on all levels, federal, state and local.  (Remeber Wiscosin!).  Since state and local government happens to be the largest group of employees in NJ (500,000 strong) under the same health plans, don't think changes in their benefits won't affect what your employer offers you.  Believe me an increase at the state's leading employer will have a ripple effect to to private sector and you will pauy even more than you are now.  After all, why should you pay less than the 30 percent of salary government workers have to pay!  Suppose you buy your own health insurance or are retired.  The cuts are not just about employer provided health insurance, the Republicans are also going after Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  All will cost more and beless generous in coverage if the Republicans have their way.

Remember an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us.  Help back us in this fight because after all your Social Security is also on the line in Washington and Christie wants to eliminate Medicaid benefits for state residents with low-paying jobs and reduce them for all other Medicaid recepients.  (It's in the same budget that includes the increase in public employee health care contributions.)

So which side are you on?  The choice should be simple.  Is your home (or car) your largest asset.  Do you get most of your income from work, pensions or Social Security?  Then you should be with us.  Those who own large businesses or have big stock portfolios or trust funds to support them probably would benefit at least in the short term by being on the opposite side.  Since us working people outnumber the rich, we should win, if we let the politicians know we vote for our class interests and will not be swayed by talk of elusive savings on property taxes or paltry increases in homestead rebates.

Now for the meat of the matter.  CWA 1038 is operating a phone bank thatautomatically directs your call to the appropriate legislator.  Just call the number and enter your zip code and you will be connected with the appropriate legislative office.

Tell Your Legislators Not To Legislate Public Employee Health Benefits.




You wull be directed to the appropriate legislative office.

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