As reported in NJ.Com as well as NJSpotlight, the State of New Jersey recently told thousands of union members whose contracts expired June 30, 2015, that they won’t be receiving annual incremental pay increases while there’s no new deal in place.  In the past, State employees have received their annual increases if their performance merited the bump — even without a contract in place.  Christie’s freeze affects state office workers, college professors, corrections officers, and other groups of public workers who haven’t yet reached the top of their pay scales.

Crivelli & Barbati, L.L.C., representing approximately seven thousand (7,000) state law enforcement officers and supervisors has filed suit in Superior Court of New Jersey.  The Plaintiffs in the case are the New Jersey Law Enforcement Supervisors Association (NJLESA) and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Local #105 (PBA #105).

The Christie administration’s position on step pay comes at a time when the amount of money public employees contribute to their healthcare coverage is starting to become a hot issue. That’s because of a four-year sunset provision on healthcare contributions that was a part of the 2011 law that forced them to pay more toward both pensions and health benefits has expired. For now, the status quo remains in effect, but because of the sunset provision, healthcare contributions will be back up for negotiation as contracts come up for renewal.

By taking the stance that workers are no longer entitled to step increases, the Christie administration appears to be adopting a position that the state Public Employment Relations Commission took last year in a case in Atlantic County, in which the County was in a labor dispute with Sheriff’s Department Officers over step increments. The commission upheld the county’s position that it did not have to follow the practice of adhering to providing step increments when a contract has expired.  However in this instance, State Employees have a vastly different compensation plan than local and county employees and it is for this reason that the Unions believe that the State broke the law when it made the decision to freeze its members pay.

The case was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County, and will be argued on the date of August 31, 2015 in front of Judge Mary C. Jacobson, the same Judge that initially ruled that the State of New Jersey had to fully fund its pension obligation in accordance with Chapter 78 of New Jersey State Law.  That decision was subsequently overturned by the New Jersey Supreme Court.  As this matter develops further we will keep our readers informed.

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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 ( 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.