Christie: Police and fire shouldn’t get special treatment on pension reform

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie said he’s not giving police and firemen any special exclusion to the pension reforms being negotiated in Trenton.

“No, it has to apply to everybody,” he said. “Why would they break out fire and police?”

Christie said the public safety unions have said they want no part of legislative reform, defending collective bargaining. But as Christie has pointed out before, pensions aren’t collectively bargained.

This was in response to a State Street Wire story on an Assembly Democratic proposal that is being worked on with police and fire unions, to provide an alternative to the current pension reform. Even Christie has said time and again that, relative to other state pension funds, the police and fire funds are the healthiest and that contributions have been maintained to the fullest extent over the years.

“This is reminiscent of the school employee health benefit plan,” Christie said today at a press conference, of  Democrats pandering to the needs of their campaign funding allies.

“How much did (police and fire) raise for (the bill sponsors) in the last day or two?” Christie said today. “This is the same old pay-to-play politics that we’ve seen in this town forever…Not on my watch.”

He said he is continuing to negotiate with the Communications Workers of America, including now over health care benefits. The CWA filed an unfair labor claim with PERC alleging that Christie’s resistance to the CWA health care offer, and his favor for legislative reform, constitutes an unfair negotiating tactic.

“We can chew gum and walk at the same time,” the governor said today. “I believe in hard, adversarial collective bargaining…They’ve never been in the room with somebody who actually knows how to negotiate.”

Christie: Police and fire shouldn’t get special treatment on pension reform