By now you have received an open letter from Governor Christie regarding our health benefits. Please find NJEA’s response below:
Dear NJEA member,
Chris Christie is up to his old tricks again, lying to NJEA members in an attempt to divide our membership.
As you may know, NJEA and the Christie administration have been at odds regarding a state-proposed Medicare Advantage change to retiree medical benefits that NJEA opposes because we believe it is both illegal and likely harmful to retirees. While some other unions have agreed to the change, NJEA has refused, leading to a legal challenge by the state. That fight to protect our members’ benefits is ongoing.
Recently, Chris Christie brought this issue up at one of his town hall meetings on school funding. He claimed that, because of NJEA’s refusal to give into his demands, our active members will have a larger increase in their premiums than other public employees. That is a blatant lie. He is telling it to try to divide our union, but we won’t let that happen.
The premiums paid by active employees in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Plan are not related in any way to the level of benefits provided to retired school employees. Whatever the rate increase is for active employees in the SEHBP this year, it has no connection to whether or not NJEA accepts the state’s demand to move all Medicare eligible retirees into a Medicare Advantage plan. Chris Christie knows this, but he is lying to you anyway.
Today, we learned that at least some members have been receiving a letter in their school mailboxes that repeat his lie about the premium increase. Don’t be fooled. NJEA members still remember the open letter he released during his first campaign for governor where he promised “I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor.” When we get letters from the governor seeking to divide us, we know better than to believe him.
If you got that letter, please click here to send Gov. Christie an email telling him that you don’t believe his lies and that you won’t let him divide you from your union colleagues.
NJEA will continue fighting to protect the quality of members’ health benefits. We will continue working to find ways to make those benefits more affordable without making them less valuable. And we will continue opposing the governor as he tries to illegally impose harmful changes to retiree health benefits.
Wendell Steinhauer, President
New Jersey Education Association