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December 30, 2010

RE: Guidance on New Arbitration Process

Dear Mayor:

As indicated in our letter of December 21 (http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml122110-gov-signs-3393.html), the long-awaited and much-debated binding interest arbitration bill is now a New Jersey statute.

The new law, Chapter 105 of the Public Laws of 2010, is available in final bill form on the Legislature’s website at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A3500/3393_R1a.HTM.

The reform marks a dramatic change to the arbitration process and will provide some help to municipalities in their struggle to control the never-ending rise in public safety personnel costs.  The reforms, which take effect on January 1, 2011, cap arbitration awards on base salaries to no more than 2%, provide for random selections of arbitrators, expedite the determination of awards, require the arbitrator to provide a written report detailing the weight accorded to each of the statutory requirements and expedite the appeal process. 

To assist in understanding the new procedures, the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) has posted some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) on its website at http://www.state.nj.us/perc/FAQ_New_Interest_Arbitration_Procedures.pdf. The League’s Labor Counsel has also provided information about the reforms at http://www.genovaburns.com.

The League anticipates that unions will test the new law, specifically the 2% cap and the new “rocket docket,” which requires the interest arbitration process be decided in 45 days from the date of the petition. Municipalities are cautioned to be on the watch for these petitions as the delay of one day can be costly.

The League will hold two special seminars to provide a fuller explanation of the new law, and the opportunities it provides for Mayors and other municipal decision makers. Details will be sent to you, early next week. At this time, we’d advise you to hold open on your schedule either Wednesday, February 2 or Friday, February 11.
Please share this information with your labor relations counsel and members of your contract negotiations team.
For further information, contact Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481, ext. 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com or Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com or you can contact the League’s Labor Relations Counsel, Brian W. Kronick, Esq. or Doug Solomon, Esq. at 973-533-0777.
Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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