Gov. Corzine and New Jersey's largest labor union have reached a deal to freeze wages for 18 months and impose nine furlough days, in addition to the one state workers took in May.

In exchange, state workers eventually will get all the raises in their current contract and will accumulate up to seven paid leave days that can be taken in future years, or cashed out when they leave government service.

Corzine said the agreement with the Communications Workers of America will save $300 million to $400 million in the budget that begins July 1, helping to balance a spending plan in a difficult economic climate.

Republicans criticized parts of the deal, saying the extra days off in the future will offset some of the savings realized in the near term.

Corzine said the deal averts layoffs and will help preserve services. As part of the deal, Corzine agreed not to impose layoffs through the end of 2010.

Union workers were due a raise on July 1. That raise now will go into effect Jan. 1, 2011, according to the CWA.