TRENTON - New Jersey's largest state worker union and the Corzine administration have struck a tentative deal that freezes wages for 18 months and requires 10 furlough days but guarantees no layoffs through 2010.

The proposed memorandum of agreement would modify the contract between the Communications Workers of America and the state, if members ratify it.

Facing a severe budget shortfall, Gov. Jon S. Corzine threatened to lay off as many as 7,000 state workers unless he achieved millions in concessions from labor. The tentative deal would achieve $309 million in savings if the other unions agree, according to a person familiar with the talks. *