Two public worker unions OK contract

TRENTON – The Christie Administration said Friday that two state public employee unions approved a four-year contract that includes no salary increases in the first two years, but small ones in the last two years.

The settlement with more than 5,000 workers who belong to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), AFL-CIO Local 195, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 518, was approved on Thursday by a large majority, clearing the way for a new labor contract retroactive to July 1, 2011, the administration said.  Both union locals are covered under one contract.

“I appreciate the union membership’s recognition of the fiscal realities we continue to face as we work to bring New Jersey state government back to a stable, sustainable and affordable path,” said Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement.  “Just as in the private sector, public employees have had to face these economic realities.”

Officials from each of the unions were not immediately available for comment.

The across-the-board salary increases in the agreement will have no raises this year, but there will be a 1 percent increase in July 1, 2013 and 1.75 percent in July 1, 2014.

Communications Workers of America, one of the state’s largest public unions, has yet to come to an agreement.

IFPTE represents approximately 4,900 state employees throughout departments in the executive branch and at state colleges, with job titles falling into the categories of operations, maintenance and services; crafts (mechanics, engineers, plumbers, etc.); and inspection and security.  SEIU represents approximately 190 employees at the state Motor Vehicle Commission.  Together IFPTE/SEIU represents the third-largest state employee civilian negotiations unit.

Two public worker unions OK contract