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Christie taking teachers union to court in benefit talks

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey attorney general is asking a judge to force the state’s biggest teachers union to attend meetings it has skipped to help determine public health benefits.

It’s the latest in a fight between the Republican Christie administration and the New Jersey Education Association over setting pensioners’ benefit rates. Christie wants to reduce benefits to save $250 million. The union is opposed.

Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in court papers filed Tuesday that the union’s failure to attend meetings delayed efforts to set rates before open enrollment on Oct. 3.

Porrino says the School Employees’ Health Benefits Commission cannot vote on a proposal to save taxpayers $70 million.

Last week the union said the board could not do its job because the governor failed to fill a labor vacancy.