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The Assembly State Government Committee today advanced a measure sponsored by Assembly members Thomas Giblin, Linda Stender and Wayne DeAngelo calling on the Christie administration to begin collective bargaining negotiations with union representatives at once.

“Collective bargaining has a long and proud tradition in New Jersey,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “At a time when we’re seeing workers’ rights trampled in this country, it’s important that this process remain a two-way street. The administration should begin engaging in good faith at once to ensure fairness in the workplace.”

The bill (AR-145) urges the Administration to immediately begin negotiating in good faith with union representatives of State employees so a timely and fair contract can be agreed to between both parties.

“In 2009 we saw a cooperative spirit at work that helped the state address an emerging fiscal crisis,” said Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “State employees were willing to reopen their contract, resulting in $200 million in savings for the 2010 budget as 10 unpaid furlough days were negotiated and a wage increase was deferred in order to avoid layoffs, which also helped save jobs during a difficult economic climate.”

“Particularly during difficult economic times, public sector employees and their unions have displayed a willingness to work with employers to save tax dollars and provide the most efficient and cost effective delivery of services for New Jersey’s residents,” said DeAngelo (D- Mercer/Middlesex).

Collective bargaining is the process of negotiation between union representatives and the employer to decide the terms and conditions of employment of employees, including wages, hours of work, working conditions and grievance procedures, and certain benefits including health care, in order to achieve contract results as reflected in a collective bargaining agreement.

The resolution notes that the General Assembly respects the collective bargaining process and embraces it as the best course of action for negotiating employee and employer relations and terms of employment.

The measure was released by the Assembly State Government Committee by a vote of 3-0-2.