Commission Designee Accepts Employer’s Argument That Oral Agreement Can Waive Right to Contractual Salary Increase

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

County of Hudson and PBA Local 109A

In I.R. No. 2013-1, a Commission designee denied the PBA’s application for interim relief in an unfair practice case.  One reason to deny interim relief is when there is a dispute over material facts.  The designee found that there was a dispute over material facts about whether there was an oral agreement between the County of Hudson and PBA Local 109A that the County would make promotions and the PBA would waive promotional salary increases for a year.  However, the parties’ collective negotiations agreement explicitly provides that any modification to the agreement must be reduced to writing and agreed to by both sides.  There was no allegation by the County that the parties had agreed in writing to a waiver of promotional salary increases.  While there may be a disagreement over whether the parties had an oral understanding, PERC would not normally have found that dispute to be over a material fact given the agreement’s requirement that any modification be in writing.  See, e.g., Borough of Morris Plains, I.R. No. 89-15, 15 NJPER 216 (¶20090 1989) (parties’ past practice cannot supersede clear terms of contract).

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