By Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on March 14, 2017 at 7:45 AM, updated March 14, 2017 at 8:32 AM

TRENTON — Public employee unions and government officials clashed Monday in a case before the state Supreme Court that could determine whether workers across New Jersey will get pay raises.

The state’s highest court heard oral arguments over the whether “step” increases — raises in pay when workers reach annual milestones in years of service — should be granted after a contract has expired.

Atlantic County, Bridgewater Township and the Public Employment Relations Commission asked the court to reverse an appellate court ruling, which found PERC overstepped its authority when it upended a four-decades-old doctrine that says step increases outlive the term of a contract.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34 and Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 77 charged Atlantic County with unfair labor practices, alleging the county violated that “dynamic status quo” doctrine during contract negotiations and arbitration.

Police officers who were not yet at the top of the pay scale were due 5 percent or 6 percent step increases.

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