On appeal from the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission, Docket Nos. IA-2010-069 and IA-2010-070.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued September 11, 2012
Before Judges Waugh and St. John.
Appellants County of Mercer and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office (Prosecutor) (collectively Mercer County)*fn1 appeal from the final administrative action of the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) affirming an interest arbitration award setting the terms of the contracts between the Prosecutor and prosecutor's investigators and detectives, represented by respondent Prosecutor's Detectives and Investigators PBA Local 339, and prosecutor's senior officers, represented by respondent Prosecutor's Superior Officers Association. We affirm.
We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal. The most recent agreements between the Prosecutor and the two unions expired on December 31, 2009. Although the parties engaged in negotiations for successor agreements, they were unsuccessful.
The unions filed petitions for interest arbitration in February 2010. PERC appointed Joel M. Weisblatt to serve as the arbitrator. The hearing was held in October 2010. Weisblatt issued an eighty-two page decision and award on September 6, 2011.
The award provided as follows:
1. The duration of the contracts shall be from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2013.
2. (A) The wage rates shall be increased, across-the-board, as follows:
Effective January 1, 2010 - 0.0%
Effective January 1, 2011 - 2.0%
Effective January 1, 2012 - 2.5%
Effective January 1, 2013 - 2.5%
(B) The language of Article 6.3 of the PBA contract shall be amended to reflect the existing past practice that step movement be applied annually on July 1st of each year.
3. The Health Benefits provisions of the contracts shall be modified to expressly provide that the health benefits program shall be consistent with P.L. 2010, c. 2, and with P.L. 2011, c. 78.
4. The Bereavement Days provision of the contracts [Article 8.1 (PBA) and 7.1 (SOA)] shall be amended to add stepmother and stepfather to this list of immediate family members.
5. The existing sentence barring the use of personal days in conjunction with vacation leave shall be deleted from the contracts [Article 8.4 (PBA) and 7.4 (SOA)] and replaced with the following sentence:
Personal days may be taken in conjunction with vacation leave subject to prior Departmental approval.
6. The existing language with respect to Seniority, set forth in Article 11.2 (PBA) and Article 10.2 (SOA) shall be ...