January 8, 2010
Allows certain current managerial and confidential employees to unionize
We wanted to notify you of pending legislation which will have an important impact on state level collective negotiations under the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act, N.J.S.A. §34:13A-3 (the “Act”). Recently, Assembly Bill 4261 passed out of Committee and is now headed to the full Assembly for a vote on Monday, January 11, 2010. Senate Bill 3071, passed out of Committee has not yet been scheduled for a vote. As introduced, the proposed legislation will revise the definitions of “managerial executive” and “confidential employee” for state employees under the Act. Inevitably, however, passage of this bill will create a precedent, which would lead to a further expansion of the definition of non-exempt public employees to reach local municipalities
Under current law, for purposes of determining which public employees are excluded from a bargaining unit under the Act, “managerial executives” are: 1) persons who formulate management policies and practices, and 2) persons who are charged with the responsibility of directing the implementation of those management polices and practices. Under the proposed legislation, this definition would be amended to include only persons who formulate management policies and practices. Thus, the proposed legislation would expand the class of employees eligible to be in a bargaining unit to include persons who direct the implementation of policies and practices on a state level.
The current definition of “confidential employees” includes employees whose functional responsibilities or knowledge of issues related to the collective negotiations process would cause a conflict by their membership in the bargaining unit. Under the proposed legislation, this definition would be amended to include only employees who have direct involvement in representing the State in collective negotiations. Therefore, the proposed legislation would allow employees peripherally involved in the negotiation process, so long as they are not directly involved, to be included in the bargaining unit.
Additionally, the proposed legislation further expands the class of employees eligible to join a bargaining unit to include any deputy attorneys general and/or executive branch managers below the level of assistant commissioner.
Please note that the proposed legislation explicitly provides that the existing definition of “managerial executive” and “confidential employee” for persons employed by entities other than the State would remain unchanged.
In the coming days, we will continue to express our concerns to the Legislature about the potential impact of this proposed legislation. We also encourage you to contact your state legislators to let them know your concerns that may result from passage of the proposed legislation.
Very Truly Yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.