New Jersey’s Unions, Democratic Lawmakers React to Supreme Court Decision


On Tuesday, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a 2011 pension law, passed but later reneged by Christie, did not give the state’s public workers a legally enforceable contract to greater pension funding.

The practical implication of the ruling is that New Jersey won’t have to pay its full 2015 pension contribution as mandated by the 2011 law; the contribution was slashed by $1.6 billion by Christie.

Labor groups and Democratic lawmakers reacted to the decision on Tuesday afternoon. Key reactions, as captured by

Labor leaders said Tuesday that the governor’s repudiation of a law he championed, pushed through the Legislature and signed amounts to betrayal.


“Why would any Democrat or any union member trust the governor on anything he has to say?” [New Jersey Education Association President Wendell] Steinhauer said Tuesday. “He has not come through with any of his promises. What incentive is there for anyone to sit down with this man?”

One of the legislative leaders who worked with Christie to enact the 2011 law, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), also said Christie’s dramatic turnabout had devastated the chances of future collaboration.

“Who in their right mind would come back to the table and negotiate with someone that didn’t keep the first part of the deal?” he said.


Hetty Rosenstein, state director of the Communications Workers of America, said her members will continue to fight for funding for their current pension plans, dismissing any alternatives.

“The pension payments must be made,” she said. “We will not negotiate away from that position.”

Read more reaction here.


Photo credit: “New Jersey State House” by Marion Touvel – Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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