TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Public employees who challenged a requirement to start paying toward their health insurance have lost a round in court.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg issued a pair of rulings Thursday upholding a law requiring public workers to pay 1.5 percent of their salary toward health care.

Police and firefighters unions filed one suit against the state. The other was filed on behalf of government workers represented by the Communications Workers of America workers and teachers.

The unions argued that the requirement that went into effect in May infringes on collective bargaining and amounts to a tax on government employees.

The judge ruled that the law is constitutional.

An appeal is possible.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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