N.J. Supreme Court enters fray over pay hikes for public workers

By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — Public employee unions and government officials clashed Monday in a case before the state Supreme Court that could determine whether workers across New Jersey will get pay raises.

The state’s highest court heard oral arguments over the whether “step” increases — raises in pay when workers reach annual milestones in years of service — should be granted after a contract has expired.

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State employees lodged a similar complaint against Gov. Chris Christie’s administration, which similarly froze salaries for tens of thousands of workers whose contracts expired.

A union win in this case would affect every state and local public employee in New Jersey, said Ira Mintz, who represented the police unions before the court.

Patrick Colligan, president of the state Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said “If (the justices) follow all the case law and all the labor law and all the PERC decisions from the past 40 years, they will make a decision that is favorable to us,” he said.

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