Yesterday the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) ruled that the State of New Jersey engaged in unfair labor practices by unilaterally discontinuing the payment of salary guide step increments upon the expiration of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Supervisors Association’s (NJLESA) and the New Jersey Superior Officers’ Associations (NJSOA) contracts that ran from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2015. (Please see PERC Decision Numbers CO-2016-107 and CO-2016-118 respectively).  In rendering their decision PERC adopted the 107 page the Hearing Examiner’s recommended decision in almost its entirety.

PERC stated in the decision that the Commission and the New Jersey Courts have consistently held that changes in negotiable terms and conditions of employment must be addressed through the collective negotiations process because unilateral action is destabilizing to the employment relationship and contrary to the principles of New Jersey Employer Employee Relations Act.  However, more importantly, PERC found the Hearing Examiner’s decision to be Consistent with the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division’s decision and the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling in the case entitled In the Matter of Atlantic County

PERC stated in its ruling that the “dynamic status quo” had to be maintained in this instance due to the fact that the State of New Jersey had never before frozen or discontinued regular increments under the applicable contract language during the period when a prior contract expired and a successor agreement was negotiated. Thus the status quo included a payment system by which increments were regularly paid based on satisfactory performance, and a past practice of continued adherence to that increment system post contract expiration.

This ruling is incredibly important for New Jersey Public Employee Labor Unions as it provides for clarification of how PERC will treat Governmental increment freezes under its own case law, the dynamic status quo doctrine and the Appellate Division and Supreme Court Decisions in the case entitled In The Matter of Atlantic County.  In conclusion, New Jersey’s governing bodies are now on notice that PERC has moved away from the draconian decisions and polices that were instituted by Kellie Hatfield and Chris Christie’s PERC and the Commission is once again the impartial and unbiased administrative agency that it was created to be.

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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.