NJ Gov Steps Into UPS Debate
The governor of New Jersey is demanding that UPS abide by state law and offer domestic partners benefits to the civil unioned. UPS says that under its federal collective bargaining agreement, union employees' benefits are covered by federal laws that only recognize fully married couples. Non-union UPS employees do have access to domestic partners benefits in New Jersey. In Massachusetts, all married employees are eligible.
Gov. Corzine sent a letter to UPS, saying in part, "Surely, as a company with a long-standing commitment to its employees and the community, UPS would not want to make its employees and their families face these difficult choices based on the subtleties of the interaction of federal and state law." According to Lambda Legal, hundreds of companies in New Jersey continue to refuse benefits to the civil-unioned.
I find myself pleasantly surprised that Gov. Corzine is advocating for LGBT folk to UPS, especially since so far there are only a handful of people affected by their decision. Good for him. But I also find myself hoping that UPS continues to resist, as that may provide continued momentum to the marriage equality movement in New Jersey. The UPS story highlights what has become increasingly apparent: civil unions are a weak, ultimately unacceptable compromise.