March 31, 2014
DON’T STOP NOW! INSIST ON ACTION TO REINSTATE THE ARBITRATION CAP!
The Assembly will not return to Trenton today to act on the Governor’s recommended amendments to S-1869 – the Arbitration Cap Extension bill. (For more, please see the League’s March 27 Dear Mayor letter: www.njslom.org/letters/2014-0327-IA-update.html)
As a result, the cap will expire at midnight, tonight, for newly expired contracts. From that moment on, with no legal limits, arbitrators will be able to impose awards similar to those issued prior to the implementation of the 2% cap. Such excessive awards could immediately threaten funding for all other municipal services. And, in the not-too-distant future, such awards could force local budget makers to reduce public safety staffing levels, as fewer local employees steadily take home higher percentages of local funds.
This is a slap in the face to local elected officials, who struggled to keep property tax rates as low as possible and service quality as high as needed, while dealing with the after-effects of the 2008 recession and a series of natural disasters. Now is not the time to lift the limit on arbitration awards.
Speaker Prieto has indicated that he hopes to advance an alternative proposal, soon. We will review that alternative when it becomes available, and report back to you, at that time.
But for now, it is extremely important that your representatives in Trenton continue to hear from you. Please let them know that they need to act to reinstate the 2% cap on arbitration awards, with no further delays.
Also, if you have an unsettled Police or Fire contract we suggest you contact your labor attorney to discuss your options before the April 1 deadline.
Questions on this legislation can be directed to either Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 or firstname.lastname@example.org x112 or Mike Cerra at 609-695-3481 x120 or email@example.com.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.