Posted on September 3, 2017 at 7:20 AM

By Samantha Marcus

[email protected],

NJ Advance Media for

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is digging in on a labor dispute in which it refuses to pay public employees’ step increases after their contracts expired, despite state court rulings that have largely upheld the practice.

The administration has asked the Public Employment Relations Commission to block the union’s request to go to arbitration to argue that the state should pay their step increases.

Tens of thousands of state employees have missed one or more of these longevity pay bumps as the state froze salaries for workers whose contracts expired June 30, 2015. The state relied on a decision from PERC that upended a four-decades-old custom of step increases outliving the term of a contract.

Hetty Rosenstein, state director of the Communications Workers of America, New Jersey’s largest state employee union, said that despite a state Supreme Court ruling in August rebuking PERC, Christie’s administration is still seeking to freeze employees on the salary guide.