Employees in New Jersey’s largest state-worker union overwhelmingly ratified a revised contract agreement on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 that defers a raise and trades furloughs this year for future vacation days. With a little over 13,000 votes cast online or by phone by the deadline, the margin was 69 percent to 31 percent according to the Communication Workers of America. All four bargaining units, those represented clerical workers, professionals and two tiers of supervisors, voted for the revised deal, which bars layoffs until 2011. 

Workers in the CWA, which covers about half the state’s workforce, agreed to defer a 3.5 percent raise that was due July 1, 2009 by 18 months; they will get two 3.5 percent raises in fiscal 2011. Workers also agreed to nine furlough days over the coming year, on top of one taken in May. In exchange, they receive seven days off from work they can take starting in July 2010 or cash out when they leave state employment, at their pay rate at that time. 

The State agreed not to layoff any workers until January 2011 or add more unpaid furloughs before July 2011. If the State lays off any worker before January 2011, not counting any fired for disciplinary reasons or for cause, all state workers immediately get the deferred 3.5 percent raise and no further furloughs are required.

Workers due to receive increment raised in fiscal 2010 based on their years of service will get those increases. The nine unpaid furlough days include the day after Thanksgiving this year and Lincoln’s Birthday in 2010. The other seven dates will be worked out by workers and their supervisors and must be taken by the end of June 2010.

Republicans, who are hopeful that Governor Corzine will be replaced in this fall’s election, said the agreement ties the hands of the next governor to deal with next year’s multi-billion dollar deficit. “The governor did not need to negotiate these costly, election-year concessions. The courts had upheld his right to furlough workers as he originally proposed. The governor traded a plan that would have saved money during a recession for one that may very well slow the state’s recovery,” said Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., R-Union.

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Photo of Donald C. Barbati Donald C. Barbati

Donald C. Barbati is a shareholder of Crivelli, Barbati & DeRose, L.L.C. His primary practice revolves around the representation of numerous public employee labor unions in various capacities to include contract negotiation, unfair labor practice litigation, contract grievance arbitration, and other diverse issues…

Donald C. Barbati is a shareholder of Crivelli, Barbati & DeRose, L.L.C. His primary practice revolves around the representation of numerous public employee labor unions in various capacities to include contract negotiation, unfair labor practice litigation, contract grievance arbitration, and other diverse issues litigated before the courts and administrative tribunals throughout the State of New Jersey. In addition, Mr. Barbati also routinely represents individuals in various types of public pension appeals, real estate transactions, and general litigation matters. He is a frequent contributor to the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog, a free legal publication designed to keep New Jersey public safety officers up-to-date and informed about legal issues pertinent to their profession. During his years of practice, Mr. Barbati has established a reputation for achieving favorable results for his clients in a cost-efficient manner.

Mr. Barbati has also handled numerous novel legal issues while representing New Jersey Public Safety Officers. Most notably, he served as lead counsel for the Appellants in the published case In re Rodriguez, 423 N.J. Super. 440 (App. Div. 2011). In that case, Mr. Barbati successfully argued on behalf of the Appellants, thereby overturning the Attorney General’s denial of counsel to two prison guards in a civil rights suit arising from an inmate assault. In the process, the Court clarified the standard to be utilized by the Attorney General in assessing whether a public employee is entitled to legal representation and mandated that reliance must be placed on up-to-date information.

Prior to becoming a practicing attorney, Mr. Barbati served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Linda R. Feinberg, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer Vicinage. During his clerkship Mr. Barbati handled numerous complex and novel substantive and procedural issues arising from complaints in lieu of prerogative writs, orders to show cause, and motion practice. These include appeals from decisions by planning and zoning boards and local government bodies, bidding challenges under the Local Public Contract Law, Open Public Records Act requests, the taking of private property under the eminent domain statute, and election law disputes. In addition, Mr. Barbati, as a certified mediator, mediated many small claims disputes in the Special Civil Part.

Mr. Barbati received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, magna cum laude, from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Upon graduating, Mr. Barbati attended Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware. In 2007, he received his juris doctorate, magna cum laude, graduating in the top five percent of his class. During law school, Mr. Barbati interned for the Honorable Joseph E. Irenas, Senior United States District Court Judge for the District of New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey, assisting on various constitutional, employment, and Third Circuit Court of Appeals litigation, including numerous civil rights, social security, and immigration cases.