Many public safety officers in the state of New Jersey understand that the terms and conditions of their employment to include the wages they are paid and the benefits they receive are derived from a collective bargaining agreement reached between the public employer and their collective bargaining unit.  However many public safety officers are not aware of the inner-workings of public employment labor law in the state of New Jersey.  This post is being written to provide public safety officers with a brief oversight of the statutes and agencies that govern public employment labor law in the state of New Jersey.  It will be the first post in a series that discusses public employee labor law and the effect it has on New Jersey Public Safety Officers.

In 1968, the New Jersey State Legislature passed the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”). This Act granted to all public employees the right to join or refrain from joining employee organizations (labor unions), and the right to conduct collective negotiations with public employers through majority representatives. N.J.S.A. 34:13A-5.3. The avowed purpose of the Act was to foster the prevention and prompt settlement of labor disputes in the public employment sector of the state. N.J.S.A. 34:13A-2. To that end, the Act authorized majority representatives to negotiate agreements with public employers on behalf of the employees in the relevant bargaining unit. N.J.S.A. 34:13A-5.3. It further required that the majority representative “be responsible for representing the interest of all such employees without discrimination and without regard to employee organization membership.” Ibid. 

The Act also established PERC, the Public Employment Relations CommissionN.J.S.A. 34:13A-5.2. This administrative body was granted exclusive jurisdiction over reviewing and adjudicating unfair labor practices, grievance arbitrations, and compulsory interest arbitration for public safety officers in the state of New Jersey. PERC was also authorized to make policy and establish rules and regulations governing employer-employee relations in public employment. N.J.S.A. 34:13A-5.2, -5.4.  Almost all labor disputes and aspects of public employment labor law is under the oversight of PERC, its administrative rules and regulations, and the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act.  An association acting as the majority representative must be sure that it has leadership that is familiar with the inner workings of PERC but even more importantly, has counsel to call on that is familiar with public employment labor law. 

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog (www.njpublicsafetyofficers.com) approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.