I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Gold-Plated Benefits"

Teacher pay has grown more slowly over the last 20 years than the average worker in NJ. When asked to justify Christie's assault on teachers in the face of that fact, his henchman spokesman, Michael Drewniak, made this attempt:
What's missing in these calculations are what teachers receive in benefits, said Michael Drewniak, Christie's spokesman. That's the crux of the problem along with the union's expectation that raises of 4 and 5 percent should continue unchecked, Drewniak said.
"It's a gold-plated benefits system they have and it's far out of the mainstream of what the private sector has,'' Drewniak said. "The curve cannot continue to rise straight up in both salaries and benefits. How many people in the regular world are getting 4 and 5 percent raises each year, a gold-plated benefits package and a rich pension?''
Well, if Christie's plan goes through, there will no longer be "gold-plated benefits"; in fact, his plan will slash teacher salaries pretty badly:
While the Christie administration did not provide detailed numbers, the higher pension and benefit contributions proposed by Christie would be tantamount to a 7 percent pay cut for most teachers and government workers, and about a 4 percent reduction for police and firefighters phased in over the next three years, based on preliminary NJ Spotlight calculations.
Further, those "4 and 5 percent raises" are now down to 1.6% since this past spring.

So, let's recap the compensation of "greedy" teachers in NJ if Chris Christie has his way:

- Lower pay already than teachers in the nearby counties of NY.
- Slower growing pay already than the average worker.
- Current raises now below 2%.
- Slashed pensions.
- Huge employee payments for heath care.

May I ask a question?

If you were a bright, young person, would you ever - EVER - consider becoming a teacher in NJ?

Christie is setting the table for a disaster of epic proportions. But when the teaching corps of this state is destroyed, he will be long gone, either be running his first failed bid for the Republican nomination or taping infomercials.

ADDING: As I read it, that 7% is in addition to the 1.5% teacher have already started to pay this year for their health care. 8.5% pay cuts - nice.


thinker said...

So I just graduated last year with my teaching degree and I am already planning what I can do besides teach. I am thinking of returning to my prior job, the one I left to go back to school because I wanted to do something that I felt was meaningful. That still matters to me, but supporting my family matters more and the fact is, I can do better. In fact, even if I went back to the job I left before I had a degree, and at my previous salary, I would still make more than I could make as a teacher with all these reforms.

I graduated at the top of my class with a dual degree, 4.0 gpa in both degrees upon graduating. What kind of people do you think are going to teach our children for what essentially amounts to, after all the deductions, a salary of about $28K to $30K per year and medical coverage? A while ago, I posted here and predicted that a massive teacher shortage is coming to NJ. Pass these reforms and watch it arrive twice as fast.

Duke said...

As always, thinker, I love your posts, but you make me sad. We need people like you teaching. What the hell has happened to this country that we have driven people like you away from the classroom?

thinker said...

Sorry Duke, don't mean to make you sad. I'm still looking for a job and substitute teaching in the meantime. I love being in the classroom and it hurts me that I can't do more than substitute; I know it would be painful for me to think about leaving the industry but my family matters to me more.

As to what has happened to this country, don't even get me started!