Collective Bargaining For Public Safety Employees


LRIS 2019 Collective Bargaining Semianr

April 10-12, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Flamingo Las Vegas



    April 10, 2019

    9:00 am – Introduction And Recent Developments In Law Enforcement Labor Issues

    Recent developments from around the country in the area of public safety labor relations, including a review of pending or recent changes in state public sector bargaining laws.

    Will Aitchison.

    10:00 am – Life In The Post-Janus World

    • What is the Janus decision, what did it hold, and why?
    • In the absence of legislative changes, what are the confines of a union’s duty of fair representation to non-members?
    • What isn’t flexible under Janus without statutory changes – the duty to represent non-members in negotiations.
    • Amending bargaining statutes to entirely except non-members from the duty of fair representation.
    • The need to rewrite labor contracts and bylaws to accommodate Janus.

    Will Aitchison.

    11:00 am – What Is Negotiable, And Why

    • What are the sorts of wages, hours, and working conditions that are mandatory for bargaining.
    • The difference between bargaining over an employer’s decision and bargaining over the impacts of the decision.
    • Hot negotiations issues, including equipment (GPS systems, body cameras), workplace safety (staffing, communicable disease policies), health care, work schedules, and other issues.

    Will Aitchison.

    12:00 pm – Lunch (Included in registration)

    1:00 pm – Past Practice, Management Rights, And Maintaining The Status Quo

    • How the obligation to bargain over mandatory subjects of bargaining can limit an employer’s ability to respond to fiscal challenges.
    • The topics that may be mandatory for bargaining that are also an employer focus in difficult economic times, including layoffs, shift scheduling, furloughs, staffing levels, delayed or foregone wage increases, and benefit adjustments.
    • The mid-term bargaining process and resolution techniques.
    • Management rights and maintenance of benefits clauses.

    Will Aitchison.

    2:30 pm – Bargaining In Today’s Economic Environment: Trends And Basic Principles

    • A review of wage and benefit settlements over the last six months in public safety agencies.
    • A review of national economic projections, including projections for the Consumer Price Index and other national indices that impact an employer’s ability to pay.
    • Current projections for increases in medical costs.
    • The different strategies taken by public safety employers and unions in bargaining in difficult times.

    Will Aitchison.

    4:00 pm – Adjournment

    4:15 pm – Hosted Reception

    April 11, 2019

    9:00 am – The Nuts & Bolts Of Bargaining, Bargaining Strategies, And Media Relations

    A thorough discussion of the mechanics of collective bargaining.

    • Preparing and maintaining a bargaining strategy.
    • Keeping a contract notebook.
    • Preparing for the meet-and-confer process.
    • The composition of the bargaining team and the roles played by different bargaining team members.
    • Selecting comparable jurisdictions and total compensation analysis, including cost of living, workload and productivity, local labor markets, cross-classification analysis, and other topics which are raised in an assessment of wages and benefits.
    • How one goes about proving bargaining history.
    • The significance of a tentative agreement.
    • The different types of bargaining concessions that are occurring, including furloughs, retirement adjustments, wage freezes and reductions, and health insurance changes.
    • Non-economic benefits in exchange for economic concessions.
    • Dealing with constituencies (union members and elected officials) during difficult economic times.
    • The increased focus on politics and media relations, and the implications of getting the public involved in the bargaining discussion.

    Jonathan Downes and Rob Wexler.

    12:00 pm – Lunch (Included in registration)

    1:00 pm – The Nuts & Bolts Of Bargaining (continued)

    4:00 pm – Adjournment

    April 12, 2019

    8:30 am – How Arbitrators Analyze Ability To Pay Issues

    • The various factors taken into account by an arbitrator in assessing an employer’s ability to pay.
    • How things such as available revenue sources, taxing limits, involvement of the union in the budgeting process, public safety budget priorities, and contingency funds play a part in an arbitrator’s decision on the ability to pay.
    • A discussion of whether a finding of inability to pay ends an arbitrator’s analysis, or is one of many factors considered by an arbitrator in awarding wage and benefit adjustments.

    Dave Gaba

    11:30 am – Adjournment


    Hotel And Travel

    The Flamingo Las Vegas
    3555 Las Vegas Blvd South
    Las Vegas, NV 89109
    702-733-3111 • 800-732-2111


    LINQ Hotel
    (adjacent to The Flamingo)
    3535 Las Vegas Blvd South
    (702) 733-3111 • (888) 373-9855

    To make arrangements online, visit There is a $15 fee for telephone reservations. For the Flamingo, use Group Code SFCOB9. Room rates Tuesday through Thursday nights are $63 per night, plus a $30 per room, per night resort fee and 13.38% tax. Rates Friday and Saturday nights are $150 plus resort fee and tax. For the Linq, use Group Code SQCOL9. Room rates Tuesday through Thursday nights are $65 per night, plus a $30 per room, per night resort fee and 13.38% tax. Rates Friday and Saturday nights are $150 plus resort fee and tax.

    A limited number of rooms are available at these rates on Friday and Saturday nights, so book early if you plan to stay over. Reservations must be made by March 18, 2019. Reservations received after this date will be on a space-available basis only and at the prevailing rate. Because of the heavy tourist activity in Las Vegas any time of the year, be sure to make your reservations before March 18.


    Will Aitchison
    Mr. Aitchison is a Portland, OR attorney who has, over the course of his career, represented over 100 law enforcement and firefighter labor organizations in five western states. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. and is the author of several books on public sector labor matters, including The Rights of Law Enforcement Officers (7th Edition), and The Rights of Firefighters (4th Edition).

    Jonathan Downes
    Mr. Downes is an Ohio attorney with Zashin & Rish, a firm exclusively representing employers in the identification and resolution of legal issues arising from all aspects of the employer/employee relationship. He received his law degree from Case Western Reserve University and is certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a Specialist in Labor and Employment Law. Mr. Downes has extensive experience in collective bargaining, arbitration, litigation, administrative matters, civil rights, and civil service law. He served on the Civil Service Review Commission for the State of Ohio. He authored “Civil Service Law in Ohio” and edits the annual publication of the Ohio Civil Service and Collective Bargaining Laws Annotated.  

    Dave Gaba
    Mr. Gaba has been a labor arbitrator for more than a decade and is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and received his Juris Doctorate from the College of Law in 1984 and his MBA in 1987. With more than 25 years of labor and employment law experience, he has represented both labor and management. He is currently a partner at Compass Law Group, where he practices securities law when he is not hearing labor arbitrations.

    Rob WexlerRob Wexler
    Mr. Wexler is a partner in the California law firm Rains Lucia Stern. For over 20 years he has represented labor associations and their members on all matters relating to contract negotiations, grievances, disciplinary investigations, wage and hour claims, disability rights, and retirement matters. He is a graduate of Southwestern University School of Law.


    P.O.S.T. Certification
    Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) credits may be available on a state-by-state basis. If you would like information on your state, please contact Seminar Coordinator Claire Cowan at (503) 282-5440 or prior to the seminar.

    Continuing Legal Education certification
    LRIS has been approved as a CLE provider by the State Bar of California. This program will qualify for 12.5 hours of MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. If you require certification from any other state, please call Seminar Coordinator Claire Cowan at (503) 282-5440 prior to the seminar.


    Registration fees are $795 per person; $645 per person if three or more attend from the same organization. Registration fees include attendance, lunch on the first two days of the seminar, all seminar materials, and a hospitality reception on the first evening.


    Each attendee will receive a copy of Public Sector Collective Bargaining, by Will Aitchison, and a notebook containing extensive written materials pertaining to each of the subject addressed.


    Reservations may be canceled up to ten days prior to the seminar with a full refund. Cancellations made within ten days are subject to a $150 fee. Substitutions may be made at any time.