New Jersey public employees rally to delay officials' vote on 20% premium hike

Hundreds of New Jersey public employees demonstrated at the state capital, demanding that officials delay a contentious vote on the increase in workers' healthcare premiums by more than 20 percent, according to a Sept. 13 report from Bloomberg.

The rally in Trenton marked increased tensions in the clash between some public-sector unions and Gov. Phil Murphy regarding healthcare costs and the state's approach to a dispute with insurer Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

Two groups representing state and local governments are scheduled to meet with union representatives on Sept. 14 to discuss the rate hikes. Labor officials want to put off any decision while cost-lowering measures are explored. They also called on the governor's administration to leverage COVID-19 relief funds to defer some costs. 

State officials resisted, arguing that the commission considering rate changes must approve them by Sept. 14 so that workers can enroll beginning on Oct. 1. 

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said the city pays 70 percent of the premiums for its 1,200 employees. He also said he negotiated raises with city employees.

"Now the raises are taken away because of the health-care costs going up," Mr. Reed said. 

Representatives from the governor's office and the state Treasury Department did not respond to Bloomberg's request for comment.

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