TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A report from New Jersey’s comptroller finds the state spends more than $3 million in clothing allowances for white-collar workers who aren’t required to wear uniforms.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: Gov. Christie Says Collective Bargaining Has Been An Education

Under collective bargaining agreements, the state clothing allowance is set at $700 a year and doesn’t require employees to provide receipts.

The state spends more than $22 million a year on clothing allowances. About 20 percent goes to white-collar workers, such as day care counselors, computer technicians and teaching assistants. About half of them don’t wear uniforms.

Comptroller Matthew Boxer says it’s “absurd” to pay employees an allowance for uniforms they don’t wear.

The existing collective bargaining agreement ends this June and Boxer hopes to change the agreement after it expires.

“For those employees who are not wearing special clothing they should not be compensated for clothing expenses,” Boxer told 1010 WINS.

He also says New Jersey’s clothing allowance is far more generous than other states.

Hetty Rosenstein, the state director for the Communications Workers of America — the largest public workers union — called the report inaccurate and misleading.

The clothing stipend is modest and has been “carefully negotiated on a job-by-job basis through the collective bargaining process,” Rosenstein said. “Many wear uniforms. Many others need the right clothing to do what are often dangerous and dirty jobs.”

GOP Gov. Chris Christie used the report as another opportunity to attack existing contracts the state has with public worker unions. He is currently in negotiations with public worker unions over a new contract. The current contract expires at the end of June.

“This whole collective bargaining stuff has been such a great education for me,” Christie said Wednesday. “You should see all the crap they’ve got in there. It’s unbelievable.”

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