The Associated Press June 18, 2011, 12:13PM ET

Casualties mount in NJ employee benefits battle

The struggle to legislate higher pension and health benefits contributions from a half-million New Jersey public workers is producing winners and losers.

Organized labor is losing clout in its attacks on traditional Democratic allies who support the legislation. And pro-union Democrats are pitted against colleagues who plan to vote to limit collective bargaining for a health care package.

The big winner may be Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who promised during his 2009 campaign to rein in public employee benefits as a way to help stabilize runaway property taxes.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, an ironworker and a Democrat who sponsored the bill, says the traditionally Democratic unions have the right to throw their support behind Republicans in the next election.

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