Friday, April 13, 2007

Benefit changes for New Jersey state employees receive union approval reports union members have approved a new contract that will result in benefit changes for state employees.

Thousands of New Jersey state workers will see a 13 percent pay increase over the next four years, but some of that money will go toward higher health insurance and pension contributions, under a new contract that union members approved Thursday.

The new pact, which takes effect on July 1, provides workers 3 percent raises for the next two years, but they increase to 3.5 percent through 2010. Workers for the first time will be required to pay up to 1.5 percent of their salary toward health insurance premiums, and their annual contributions to the pension plan will rise from 5 percent to 5.5 percent. The plan will also raise the retirement age for many new state workers from 55 to 60.

The contract covers more than 40,000 state employees and members of the CWA, the state's largest public employee union. But the contract is likely to have wider ramifications since it traditionally serves as the benchmark for negotiations with county and municipal employees over the next few years.