NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court ." Although it is posted on the
internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3.
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
DOCKET NO. A-1823-19T4
IN THE MATTER OF
JERSEY CITY PUBLIC
EMPLOYEES, INC., LOCAL
CITY OF JERSEY CITY and NEW
JERSEY PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT
OF TEAMSTERS, LOCAL 641,
Submitted January 20, 2021 – Decided February 5, 2021
Before Judges Fisher and Gummer.
On appeal from the New Jersey Public Employment
Relations Commission, PERC No. 2020-24.
Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, attorneys for appellant
(Thomas A. McKinney, on the briefs).
Apruzzese, McDermott, Mastro & Murphy, PC,
attorneys for respondent City of Jersey City (Arthur R.
Thibault and Boris Shapiro, of counsel and on the
Christine Lucarelli, General Counsel, attorney for
respondent New Jersey Public Employment Relations
Commission (Frank C. Kanther, Deputy General
Counsel, on the statement in lieu of brief).
Kroll, Heineman Carton LLC, attorneys for respondent
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 641
(Raymond G. Heineman, of counsel and on the brief;
Seth B. Kennedy, on the brief).
In this appeal, Jersey City Public Employees, Inc., Local 245, argues that
a final decision rendered by the Public Employment Relations Commission –
dismissing Local 245's petition for clarification and its petition alleging unfair
practice charges – was arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable. We disagree and
For decades, the Jersey City Incinerator Authority (Authority) was a
division of the City of Jersey City involved in the collection, treatment , and
disposal of garbage. To save costs, the City dissolved the Authority in April
2016 and folded its functions, responsibilities, and employees into the existing
Department of Public Works (Department). In anticipation of the Authority's
dissolution, the City entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union, Local 641, to ensure the
continuation of its collective negotiations agreement with the Authority and to
recognize Local 641 as the exclusive representative of the Authority's blue-
collar workers who had been transferred to the Department.
In light of these events, Local 245 – the exclusive representative of the
Department's employees – filed a petition seeking to clarify its position as a
negotiation unit within the City in light of the Authority workers addition to the
Department. Local 245 also filed an unfair-practice charge, alleging the City
had violated various subsections of N.J.S.A. 34:13A-5.4(a), and that the MOA
violated a clause of the City's collective negotiations agreement with Local 245
that established it as the "exclusive representative" for all divisions of the
The matter was investigated by the Director of Representation, who sent
the parties a letter requesting information about: the duties and responsibilities
Local 245 also initially sought clarification and a finding of unfair practices
regarding the characterization of "seasonal employees." Amendments were
soon filed that withdrew those assertions.
of the blue-collar employees represented by both Local 641 and Local 245; the
negotiation histories of both units; the differences in the terms and conditions of
employment among these employees; and the structure and make-up of the
Department and the now-defunct Authority. The Director also requested that
the information be conveyed via certification or affidavit from individuals with
personal knowledge of any facts presented. The City and Local 641 responded
with certifications, and their positions were in accord. Local 245 filed nothing.
Viewing the record as factually undisputed, the Director considered Local 245's
petitions in light of the undisputed facts and concluded that: Local 245's
recognition clause excluded former Authority employees' representation by
Local 641; Local 245's petition was the wrong vehicle to seek representation of
Local 641 employees; and the MOA constituted a lawful exercise of the City's
rights and obligations.
Local 245 sought review of the Director's decision. By way of a written
decision, PERC explained why it concluded the Director had reached the right
Local 245 appeals, arguing:
I. PERC'S DECISION TO AFFIRM THE
DIRECTOR'S DECISION IS ARBITRARY AND
CAPRICIOUS AS LOCAL 245 IS THE EXCLUSIVE
REPRESENTATIVE FOR ALL JERSEY CITY
II. PERC'S DISMISSAL OF THE UNFAIR LABOR
PRACTICE CHARGES WAS ARBITRARY AND
CAPRICIOUS BECAUSE JERSEY CITY CLEARLY
REPUDIATED ITS AGREEMENT WITH LOCAL 245
WHEN SIGNING ITS [MOA] WITH LOCAL 641 (Not
III. PERC MISAPPLIED THE EERA BY FAILING TO
EXECUTE ITS INVESTIGATIVE DUTIES IN
ACCORDANCE WITH ITS REGULATIONS
RENDERING ITS DECISION ARBITRARY AND
We find insufficient merit in these arguments to warrant further discussion in a
written opinion, R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E) and affirm substantially for the reasons set
forth in PERC's written opinion with a few additional comments.
We view Local 245's arguments in light of our standard of review, which
is limited, In re Stallworth,
208 N.J. 182
, 194 (2011), and precludes appellate
intervention unless the final agency decision is "arbitrary, capricious or
unreasonable," Henry v. Rahway State Prison,
81 N.J. 571
, 579-80 (1980),
particularly when the agency's expertise is implicated,
Stallworth, 208 N.J. at 195
, as here.
Local 245 initially argues that the decision was arbitrary and capricious
because the Director did not conduct an evidentiary hearing. But, as noted
above, Local 245 chose not to submit sworn statements to rebut the factual
statements provided by the City and Local 641. Because Local 245 failed to
dispute any of the relevant facts, there was no reason for the Director to conduct
an evidentiary hearing. See N.J.A.C. 19:11-2.6(f) (requiring a hearing if "it
appears to the Director" either "that substantial and material factual issues exist"
or "the particular circumstances of the case are such that . . . a hearing will best
serve the interests of administrative convenience and efficiency").
This left for consideration purely legal questions arising from the
undisputed circumstances – questions that fell within PERC's considerable
expertise. In its final agency decision, PERC determined that the City's
agreement with Local 245 excluded employees "represented in other bargaining
units," thereby excluding Authority employees who were represented by Local
641. PERC also found there were no changed circumstances that would
necessitate a clarification because none of the effected employees' job functions
changed with the merger of the Authority into the Department. Authority
employees, as was undisputed, continued to perform their preexisting jobs
without interruption, overlap or intermingling of work with Department
employees. PERC also concluded that these separate negotiation units had
existed for years and were stable, so there was no reason for its intervention into
the dispute between Local 245 and Local 641. We find nothing arbitrary,
capricious or unreasonable in the conclusions PERC reached.