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Hints on how to write to your elected leaders

              In writing letters to the editor, follow these simple rules:

                Be sure to include your full name, address, phone number, the district from which you retired and your position when working.

                Identify the issue that you are discussing at the very beginning of your letter.  Be factual and describe how this will effect your lives.

                Keep a respectful tone and thank the reader for considering your view.

                Always thoroughly proofread your letter.

                Include your full name, daytime and evening phone number and full postal address as well.

                The shorter the letter the more likely that it will be published and read.

Bergen Record

                letterstotheeditor@northjersey.com

Herald News

                hnletters@northjersey.com

Star Ledger

                eletters@starledger.com

Thank you all for your continued support of our legislative efforts and your participation is greatly appreciated.  If letters are published,please let or 1st Vice President, Paul Richert, know (Prichert@optonline.net) as well as our Government

         

Government Relations Report


Government Relations

                                by Paul Richert and Rita Sellars

1.  Lobby Day

            On August 1, NJEA/NJREA members attended  a Lobby Day at the State Capital in Trenton.  Urging the Senate to pass bill SCR-2 was the primary goal. Passage of this bill would place the constitutional amendment requiring quarterly payments to the state pension system on the ballot for the November 2016 election.

            BCREA members attending this event were Paul and Carol Richert, Rita Sellars, Martha Anderson, Carol Otis and Joanne Doherty.  Attendance was outstanding.  CWA members also participated.

Constitutional Amendment

             Stephen Sweeney promised he would post SCR-2 which would put the Pension Constitutional  Amendment on the November 2016 election ballot  The August 8 deadline came and went!  No Senate Vote Posted!

            Several of our fellow BCREA members had attended the annual NJEA Legislative Conference in February.  At that meeting Senator Sweeney promised in clear definitive phraseology the Pension Constitution Amendment would be on the November 2016 ballot!  Promise Broken!!!!! We won’t have an opportunity to vote on this issue in November.

            However, primaries will be held in June 2017 when we will have the opportunity to decide who will run for governor and state senators.

Health Benefits

            Be aware that Governor Christie is looking to make a change in medical coverage by circumventing the law P.L.2011, Chapter 78!

            The governor is not replacing a long time union leader (who unfortunately passed away) on the SEHBP from 3 from labor and 3 from management.  The commission is looking to make changes to the SEHBP and the governor would like this to occur now while a labor representative seat is open.  He would have a 3-2 vote in his favor.

            How could this affect current retired school employees?  According to the state representatives proposal any eligible retired members receiving healthcare from SEHBP would be moved from their current retiree health benefit program to a Medicare Advantage Program.  Currently 12 percent of all

retired members already selected Advantage through Aetna.  But the 88 percent that chose Medicare as their primary insurance (with Horizon supplementing that coverage) would be forced into a Medicare Advantage program

                                                                                            What can you do?

Call Governor Christie’s office as soon as possible and tell him to fill the vacant seat on the SEHBP Commission.  He has the list of names!  609 292 6000

Pensions

                There has been much discussion in the news, the NJREA Newsletter and NJEA communications related to possible changes to the pension system and health benefits.  In order to keep you as informed as possible, we suggest you access NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer’s letter from March 25,”Funding the Pension System”

                NJEA has not made an agreement and no legislation has been introduced.  Any changes in pensions would require legislation.

                In addition, a comprehensive “Question and Answer”  site can be found on NJEA.org.

Keep Informed

                You can keep up-to-date by referring to the NJEA.org website frequently!  The home page provides the latest news.  Also consult the Pension Page and the News and Publication Page.

Health Benefits

                NJEA is promoting an additional choice in the School Employees Health Benefits Program for members which is a lower costone for retiree members or survivors who have to pay for health benefits in retirement.  No legislation is necessary to provide this option for participants.

                For further informarion email:http//njea.org/njea supports healthcare proposal

 Do You Have Questions????

                EMail  - PenBen@njea.com

                                (Pensions and Benefits)

Ad Hoc Committee Formed

                NJREA President Pat Provnick appointed an NJREA  Ad Hoc Committee in mid-March.  The purpose of this committee is to stay informed and to communicate the concerns of NJREA members regarding pensions and health benefits.

                We will continue to monitor these issues and keep you informed. 

Funding the Pension System    (NJEA Question and Answer)

                You may have heard that NJEA has met with the governor’s pension commission to talk about ways to keep the pension system solvent.  While these discussions are important, NJEA will always fight for the legally required funding.  This is why we are in court. This Q & A will explain what you need to know about why and how we must fight to compel the governor and legislature to follow the law and fund the pensions. 

What is NJEA’s position on the full funding of our current pension system?

Full funding of the current pension system is NJEA’s number one priority.  In 2011, a new law known as Chapter 78 increased employee contributions to the pension system and retired benefits, but it also created a contractual right to the state’s share of pension funding.      

                  By enacting that law, the governor and the legislature made a promise that they would not repeat the sins of the past and committed themselves to follow a payment schedule that would ensure full funding of the pension systems over the course of seven years.  That promise has been broken and the pension system is in jeopardy.  It is our job - all 200,000 of us - to demand that our elected officials keep the promise by fully funding the pension system so that our members will receive the benefits they were promised and that they have earned.

 Is the pension situation as critical as everyone is making it out to be?

                Yes. While members have make their contributions paycheck after paycheck, current and past governors and legislators have ignore their obligation to fully fund the system for more than 15 years.  The need for funding is greater now than it has ever been, and grows every year we wait for a full payment into the pension systems (NJEA)

BCREA note:  There are more questions and answers from NJEA which can be found on line : http//www.njea.org/njea/pdf/pensionfundingQ&A3-25-15pdf

 


Employment after Retirement

     According to TPAF (Teachers Pension Annuity Fund) rules, new retirees must wait 180 days after retirement before working in the public schools.  Contact (TPAF/PERS) for details in writing.

State Payment to Pension Fund

     The required 3/7 payment (Approximately 2.2 billion dollars) by the state to the State Pension Fund was included in Governor Christie’s budget.

COLA

     A pension lawsuit related to the suspension of the of Living Adjustment (COLA) mandated by PL2011 Chapter 78 was held on January 28, 2014 before an appeals panel of the Superior Court.  NJEA - NJREA members were represented by counsel at that hearing.  Arguments and briefs were submitted but a decision on the appeal is not expected for a few months.  See NJREA Newsletter, Page 1 for further information.

                                                            


I wish that I could provide a silver lining in this ever changing cloud but all that I can urge each of you to do is pay attention to the news, CyberLobby when asked and make those contributions to PAC so that we can fight together to protect our vital issues.

Click here to link to CyberLobby after logging on to njea.org

NJEA PAC

Protect Your Future: Donate to PAC

            NJREA and BCREA members have always answered the call to lobby legislators, make phone calls, write letters, work campaigns, and donate to NJEA’s Political Action Committee. (PAC)

            It seems every year NJEA has to fend off attacks from politicians who threaten to reduce pensions and health benefits of school employees – and this year has proven to be no exception.  With New Jersey in the middle of a financial crisis, a governor who is less than education friendly, and the current attack on our pension system and health benefits, your donation is needed now more than ever.  Every dollar will be needed to assist NJEA and NJREA in the fight for  benefits and public schools during this time.  Because of your efforts, NJEA will be well prepared to face any challenge that may lie ahead.

            Please continue to take part in the campaign to keep public education and its employees a priority in New Jersey.  Your ongoing efforts and contributions will be an investment in supporting legislators who believe in collective bargaining, who keep promises made to public employees and, most importantly, who recognize that our retirees helped build the foundation that has made the New Jersey public education system the best in the nation

                                                                                                               

NJEA PAC

Protect Your Future: Donate to PAC

            NJREA and BCREA members have always answered the call to lobby legislators, make phone calls, write letters, work campaigns, and donate to NJEA’s Political Action Committee. (PAC)

            It seems every year NJEA has to fend off attacks from politicians who threaten to reduce pensions and health benefits of school employees – and this year has proven to be no exception.  With New Jersey in the middle of a financial crisis, a governor who is less than education friendly, and the current attack on our pension system and health benefits, your donation is needed now more than ever.  Every dollar will be needed to assist NJEA and NJREA in the fight for  benefits and public schools during this time.  Because of your efforts, NJEA will be well prepared to face any challenge that may lie ahead.

            Please continue to take part in the campaign to keep public education and its employees a priority in New Jersey.  Your ongoing efforts and contributions will be an investment in supporting legislators who believe in collective bargaining, who keep promises made to public employees and, most importantly, who recognize that our retirees helped build the foundation that has made the New Jersey public education system the best in the nation

Support NJEA in their fight to support you and all retirees

Make checks out to NJEA-PAC and send to:

NJEA, c/o Beneficial Bank

PO Box 13661

Philadelphia, PA 19101-3661

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

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