TRENTON – As expected, the unions affected by the pension and benefits overhaul have filed suit to overturn the measure.
The lawsuit filed in federal court by the N.J. Education Association, the Communications Workers of America and others seeks to overturn the overhaul as being an illegal attack on contractual benefits, including the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments in pensions.
In addition, the suit opposes the state’s choice to make the unfunded liability of the pension systems “substantially worse” by phasing in its contributions over seven years rather than paying its full actuarially required contribution immediately.
In a release, NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said, “This lawsuit is about basic fairness and justice. Governor Christie and the Legislature passed a law which illegally takes away benefits that school employees and others have already earned through their service to the people of New Jersey.”
An earlier, related lawsuit, filed by a judge in opposition to the pensions overhaul, lost a bid for an expedited hearing before the state Supreme Court.
In a joint statement, two other plaintiffs, the Policemen’s Benevolent Association and the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association, said that they would not issue extensive comments now out of respect for first-responders still dealing with Hurricane Irene.
“We respect that many in our State, including our own members, are still suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Irene,” they said in a release. “It would not be appropriate to make grand statements about this process now and we will not be issuing any further comment at this time. In the meantime, the State PBA, State FMBA and our members will continue, as we do no matter what, serving the people of New Jersey when they need us most.”