By Levon Putney

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey’s largest state worker union said Gov. Chris Christie has snubbed their health care giveback proposal.

Communications Workers of America officials, who were negotiating a new contract, said the governor’s representatives refused to respond to or counter their opening offer.

Christie said he wants health care concessions achieved through legislation, not bargaining.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney with comments from Governor Christie

The union proposal would have employees pay 20 percent of medical insurance costs by the end of their four-year contract.

Christie’s proposal would require workers to pay 30 percent by 2014.

The governor accused union leaders of ‘whining’ Thursday. He said they previously have gone to the Legislature to lock in benefit changes.

Workers have contributed 1.5 percent of their salary toward health care costs since 2007. That change was negotiated during bargaining then codified through legislation.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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