NJEA warns lawsuits likely if reforms enacted

TRENTON – Vince Giordano, executive director of the state’s largest teachers union, the N.J. Education Association, told the Assembly Budget Committee that the pension and benefit reform bill has “massive public implications.”

He said “a lot of backroom politics” went into the pension and benefit reform bill being heard by the committee today. But that aside, Giordano said, “There are multiple legal issue in terms of this bill,” for which the state will likely incur a “long, long series of costly” lawsuits, “an onslaught of litigation.”

Giordano did not say what, in particular, the lawsuit would challenge. Sources said many provisions of the reform bill were removed to avoid any legal challenge, but the bill does adjust contribution levels for current retirees.

Former state Division of Pensions director Thomas Bryan, who testified today, agreed with Giordano, “I fully expect you to get sued.”

As far as the sunset clause that Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, (D-34), East Orange, appended the bill to include – which was supposed to entice union-backed Democrats – Giordano said, “You cannot turn the collective bargaining process on and off as if it is a faucet in your kitchen.”

“The NJEA simply asks that you cast your vote today,” with public employees, taxpayers, and the state of New Jersey in mind, he said, “not on how certain political bosses asked you to vote.”

NJEA warns lawsuits likely if reforms enacted