ON AUGUST 2, THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT INCREMENTS CANNOT BE UNILATERALLY STOPPED AND THAT INCREMENT CASES ARE GRIEVABLE AND ARBITRABLE.
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE TRIES TO STALL
On August 2, the Supreme Court issued its decision on the “increments” cases in Atlantic County and Bridgewater. In these cases, the employers denied increments after expiration. The State of New Jersey, Judiciary, and other employers have relied upon the decision of the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) to deny payments of our increments.
The Appellate Court overturned PERC, and the employers appealed to the Supreme Court. PERC, Atlantic County, Bridgewater and the Christie Administration LOST. The Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY AFFIRMED the Appellate Court’s judgment in Atlantic and Bridgewater and the Court specifically ruled that the denial of increments is grievable and can be arbitrated. (CWA’s attorney explained this in detail on a Town Hall call. If you did not join the call, you can listen to the full explanation here: http://cwanj.org/listen-increment-decision-tele-town-hall/)
Once the Court made its decision, CWA moved for our grievances on increments to be moved to arbitration. One of our grievances is against the State Judiciary’s denial of increments for the PNCR Judiciary unit (Judiciary units that are part of the JCAU have a third grievance on the issue that is moving through its contractual process) and one of our grievances is against the Executive Branch’s (Christie’s) denial of increments. The Judiciary — the Department headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court — immediately agreed to schedule the arbitration case and the arbitration hearing took place on August 24, 2017. Now the parties will file briefs and there is likely to be a decision sometime in November.
But – in the case of the Executive Branch – before we could even write to the Governor demanding our increments be paid, Governor Christie wrote to PERC and demanded that the same Agency that just LOST the Supreme Court Case, “scope” the Executive Branch grievance and find it to not be arbitrable – even though the Supreme Court already ruled these cases to be grievable and arbitrable.
CWA has demanded that the Executive Branch case be arbitrated. We will take all necessary actions to force the legal case forward. When we win, increments will be retroactively paid, as required under the Contract and by law.
We all know what this Governor is like. He will be walking out the door on January 9 and still thinking up ways to screw workers and the public.
We do not believe that this matter will be resolved before the end of Christie’s term. We think that the mean-spirited and arrogant Christie is stalling to try to save face and to try to leave more of his mess in the lap of the next Governor.
At the end of the day, however, he will be gone, we will be here, we will get our increments and we will get a Contract that protects our language and our rights and that is better than it would have been had we caved.
Thank you for your continued patience and support.