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Christie vows rollbacks for N.J. employees

Feb. 27, 2011 at 1:02 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he planned to take an ax to his state's public-employee costs and that collective bargaining was not a guaranteed right.

Speaking on CBS "Face the Nation" Sunday, Christie said he favored "fair and adversarial" bargaining with the state's unions, whose contracts expire in June.

"I'm going to do what I think needs to be done for New Jersey, which is to reform the pension system, to roll back expensive health benefits for public-sector workers, to put them more in line with the rest of the population in New Jersey," said Christie.

The current contract, Christie said, was heartily backed by his predecessor as a way to curry labor's political backing. "They got 7 percent salary increases in a 0 percent inflation world," Christie said. "I don't think the people who are paying the bills think that's the result of fair, adversarial collective bargaining."

Christie added that he believed Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin was doing what he thought was best for his state and that collective bargaining for state unions had been granted by the Legislature and could be taken away as well.

"Political things change and go back and forth," Christie said. "Every state is going to make its own determination on that and Wisconsin is in the middle of making that determination."

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