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(HAMILTON TWP.) — Legislators representing the 14th Legislative District — Senator Linda R. Greenstein and Assemblymen Wayne P. DeAngelo and Daniel R. Benson — today issued the following statement supporting a fair and comprehensive collecting bargaining process between the State and public employee unions establishing a new contract.

The lawmakers called upon Christie Administration officials participating in the negotiations to collectively bargain on all topics historically discussed when crafting a new contract — including health care benefits.

“The collective bargaining process was founded upon the most basic right of working men and women to have a say in any agreement regarding their livelihood and working conditions. Those sitting at the table negotiating on behalf of the State must recognize and respect that right in order for these negotiations to proceed in a productive manner that protects workers and the people of New Jersey,” said Greenstein.

“As someone who has participated in numerous collective bargaining negotiations, I know how important it is for all parties to come to the table with a respect and willingness to discuss all critical topics affecting workers affected by the agreement,” said DeAngelo. “The fundamentals of the collectively bargaining process will be violated if the Administration continues to ignore the reasonable health benefits proposal put forth by the public employee union.”

“Regardless of whether it is in the public or private sector, the ability of workers to bargain collectively is about fairness,” said Benson. “The public employee unions have put forth a reasonable health benefits proposal in good faith and have shown a willingness to offer ideas for reform through a true conversation to be held at the bargaining table. By working together, I have no doubt that a compromise that would benefit both employees and taxpayers could be struck.”

Assemblymen DeAngelo and Benson are prime sponsors of a recent assembly resolution, Assembly Resolution 145 (AR-145) that urges timely commencement of collective bargaining with the state employee union representatives. The measure was passed by the Assembly and filed with the Secretary of State last week. Senator Greenstein will be added as a sponsor to the senate companion measure, Senate Resolution 108 (SR-108).