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Chris Christie scores victory with arbitration legislation

Gov. Chris Christie reached a milestone in state reform when state Democrat officials in the Assembly reached a compromise yesterday on a key part of his toolkit – arbitration.  A compromise for a new formula will limit the increases to 2% annually for police and fire contracts.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer an early advocate of the Governor’s reforms will see an impact locally when the legislation reaches Gov. Christie’s desk.  Final approval is expected by January.

Currently Hoboken’s police and fire unions have been in negotiations with the city, all four operating without a contract for several years now.  Many speculated the logjam would result in the entire matter going to arbitration.

Back in September the police unions’ leadership expressed confidence an agreement would be reached.  The political reality of this arbitration legislation may hasten that process.

Here’s the video with Gov. Christie announcing the agreement:

Some of the key areas in the agreement:

• 2 percent annual limit on pay increases. Pay can increase more than 2 percent in one year, however, if a multi-year contract averages 2 percent.
• Health care and pension costs are exempted from the 2 percent increase limit. The leaders promised to take up pension and health care reform early next year.
• Arbitrators cannot create new non-salary costs that don’t already exist in the contracts to get around the 2 percent limit
• Either party can request arbitration on the day the contract expires
• An arbitrator has 45 days to make a decision

Link to the NJ.com story:
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/12/nj_gov_christie_announces_deal.html

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