CWA Local 1045 in West New York has been rally against a new state insurance plan that would raise their health premium costs by 21 percent, the head of the union said at the end of last month.
“We’re hosting rallies every Thursday statewide to bring attention to what’s going on in the state with health insurance. A 21 percent increase for any of us, including residents of the town, is gonna be a burden on us income wise,” CWA Local 1045 President Olga Prateep told HCV.
“Even taxes: the town would be forced to raise property taxes and it’s something that I don’t think any town in New Jersey could afford.”
Prateep added that the CWA has been proactive on this issue for months and has determined that the state legislature would have to sign off on $330 million of relief to offset the potential health premium costs.
The New Jersey State Health Benefits Commission voted 3-1(1) in September to approve rate hikes of more than 20% on health plans that cover over 800,000 state and local government workers.
“Medical coverage rate increases for active state workers on PPO or HMO plans dropped by 0.3% from the July estimates, to 21.1%, while tiered network medical rates rose by 21.9%, or 0.4% less than was estimated in July,” New Jersey Monitor reported.
Additionally, local government workers saw total increases of between 20.9% and 21.6%, depending on their type of plan.
“We can’t absorb any of it really, we can’t absorb anything. We’re getting an increase of 2.25 [percent] in January and then if they might charge us 24 percent: that’s not a livable wage,” Prateep added.
CWA Local 1045 represents employees from Town of West New York, West New York Housing, West New York Parking Utility, and the NJ State Judiciary in Jersey City.
Their rallies in West New York have been held in from of Town Hall, 428 60th St., and have taken place during workers lunch breaks on Thursdays.