Commission Restrains Arbitration Over Carrier Change That Increased Employee Contributions

Readington Township Board of Education and Readington Township Administrators’ Association

In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-18, the Commission restrained arbitration of a grievance claiming that the Board breached the parties’ contract by unilaterally changing insurance carriers necessitating employee contributions toward dental insurance premiums.  The Board had participated in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) under which dental premiums are not part of the Chapter 78 contributions.  The Board changed to a private plan and under Chapter 78, dental premiums are subject to Chapter 78 contributions.  The Commission cited cases holding changes in carriers that change terms and conditions of employment are negotiable, but nevertheless held that the Board had a managerial prerogative to leave the SHBP and restrained arbitration.

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