CHAPTER 78

The reality of "unintended consequences"

Chapter 78: Why you are earning less?

When Gov. Chris Christie signed PL 2011 Chapter 78 into law on June 28, 2011, he set a chain of events into effect that would ultimately reduce the take-home pay of public employees.

In addition to increases in pension contributions, Chapter 78 also mandated that employees pay a percentage of their health insurance premium. Depending on plan choices, level of coverage, and salary, the employee contribution ranges from 3% of the premium to 35% of the premium and is never less than 1.5% of the employee’s base salary. When an employee’s salary increases, the contribution may jump to another level of premium sharing, resulting in the pay raise being reduced, negated, or, even worse, decreased. Further, whenever there is a premium increase, a member’s contribution subsequently increases further reducing take-home pay.

As a result, NJEA members are seeing significant decreases in take-home pay and that’s having devastating consequences on them and their families. Some are unable to meet their basic financial obligations like mortgage, rent, and car payments. Others are taking on added debt like short-term loans and increased use of credit cards. While the overall economy is improving, our members are doing worse. Their salaries are not keeping up with the escalating costs associated with Chapter 78.

Support

Support your bargaining team and those in your community working to mitigate the impact of Chapter 78! Many NJEA locals are negotiating contracts and attempting to get some relief from Chapter 78 provisions. Offer to help them in their efforts for a fair settlement. Speak at Board meetings. Support the work of your Action Team. Be a team player – the only way we can make it better is if we stick together and show solidarity.

Share Your Story

You are not alone! Share your stories about the sacrifices you have had to make because of Chapter 78. Perhaps you have had to cut back on saving for retirement or your children’s college fund. Maybe you have had to take out a loan to cover basic expenses. Maybe you’ve put off home or auto repairs. Legislators and School Board members need to know how their bad decisions have hurt their constituents and their families.