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Bargaining Obligation Prevails Over Wage Recoupment Statute

On November 1, 2016, an audit at a county in Washington uncovered an accounting software error had caused Benton County Sheriff’s Office employees, including 85 corrections officers, to be overpaid from June 2016 through September 2016. Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton sent Sheriff Steven Keane a memo that notified him of the error. The memo explained how the error occurred and that the County had the right under a…

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Contracts And Memoranda Of Understanding

In February 2017, the City of Brook Park, Ohio, passed an ordinance calling for the City to pay $100 per month for the hospitalization and/or medical insurance benefits for a group of retired employees. Lodge 15 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the City’s police officers, filed a grievance challenging the ordinance. The FOP claimed that the ordinance violated the terms of a 2009 memorandum of understanding…

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Labor Board Refuses To Sever Detectives From Sworn Unit

On October 4, 2019, the St. Petersburg Police Officers’ Association, Inc. (POA) filed a petition seeking to represent a bargaining unit consisting of police detectives employed by the City of St. Petersburg, Florida. The detectives are currently represented by the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (Sun Coast), as part of a bargaining unit that includes the classifications of police officer, forensic services technician, and latent print examiner. Florida’s…

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Employer Required To Bargain When State Passes Paid Family And Medical Leave Law

In 2017, the Washington Legislature enacted the Paid Family Medical Leave Act. The Act provides compensation for qualifying medical or family events, such as the birth of a child. The Act funded the program in part through premiums of 4/10 of one percent of an employee’s salary and provided that an employer may deduct a premium from the wages of employees. Whatcom County and the Whatcom County Deputy Sheriff’s…

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Employer Required To Bargain Over Many Lexipol Policies

Prior to 2018, there was no one place where employees could find all the workplace policies and procedures utilized by the Snohomish County Corrections Bureau in Washington. There were two policy manuals dating from different eras, one from 2006-2007 and one from 2009. Each contained some policies and standard operating procedures that remained in effect until 2018. The County also used a file sharing platform that contained additional policies…

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Employer May Not Unilaterally Impose Waiver Of Right To Bargain

In a “meet-and-confer” environment, an employer has the right to break a contract impasse by unilaterally implementing its last best offer. What is not often recognized is that the only thing an employer can implement are changes to issues that are mandatory for bargaining. An employer has no right to unilaterally implement a waiver, as waivers of the right to bargain such as those often found in management rights…

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Arbitrator Can Consider Conduct Of Parties In Construing Contract Language

Pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between Local 3111 of the IAFF and Anderson Township, Ohio, Lieutenant William Tillett received notice that disciplinary proceedings were being initiated against him because he had surrendered his fire-inspection certification. When the Department eventually demoted Tillett, Local 3111 challenged the demotion in arbitration. At the arbitration hearing, Tillett testified that he served as president of Local 3111 for approximately 18…

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‘Exploding Offers’ Can Be Bad-Faith Bargaining

In collective bargaining parlance, an offer that expires on a fixed date is known as an ‘exploding offer.’ In a lengthy opinion, the California Public Employment Relations Board analyzed when exploding offers amount to bad-faith bargaining. The case involved the City of Arcadia and the Arcadia Police Civilian Employees Association. In September 2013, the City announced that it wanted to conclude negotiations by November because of City Council elections…

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Q & A

From FloridaQuestion: Does being informed that the employee is a witness in an investigation negate the witness from asking for representation under Weingarten? He reasonably believed that as a witness, he may be subjected to discipline. The employer did not inform or assure the employee that he wouldn’t be, just stated that as a witness, he was not entitled to representation. Does being called a witness cancel the right…

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Iowa Collective Bargaining Cuts Upheld By Court

In 2017, Iowa moved to a “Quadruple R” political status, with Republicans holding the governorship, both houses of the legislature, and a majority of state supreme court justices. Very quickly thereafter – the process took little more than a month – the legislature adopted, and the Governor signed a bill drastically cutting back on public employee collective bargaining rights. The legislation drew a line between unions representing a bargaining…

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Granting Benefits To Management Employees Can Violate Union’s Rights

The United Chief Officers Association is the exclusive bargaining representative for the 10-13 battalion chiefs in the Contra Costa County Fire District. Although the fire marshal and fire training chief classifications are unrepresented, these positions have traditionally been regarded as lateral peers of the battalion chiefs and received comparable pay and benefits. The District is a separate entity from Contra Costa County; however, the County’s Board of Supervisors serves…

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Blanket ‘Gag Order’ Violates Bargaining Law

Santa Clara County in California is in a bargaining relationship with the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers’ Association. Lance Scimeca was elected Association President in 2012. No Association members have release time from the County to act as union representatives. In August 2015, the parties were negotiating a successor Memorandum of Understanding (California’s equivalent of a collective bargaining agreement) and reached a tentative agreement sometime in mid-September. During…

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Lawsuit Possible Over Whether CBA Arbitration Covers Retirees

A group of former officers with the City of Long Beach Police Department in New York sued the City, alleging that they were entitled to the retroactive raise in the contract eventually settled by binding arbitration. The retirees had been members of the Long Beach Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which was party to a collective bargaining agreement with the City that expired on June 30, 2008. An interest arbitration award…

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FOP’s Attempt To Intervene In Consent Decree Case Untimely

On August 29, 2017, the State of Illinois sued the City of Chicago under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, the U.S. Constitution, the Illinois Constitution, the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003, and the Illinois Human Rights Act. The lawsuit sought to enjoin the Chicago Police Department (CPD) “from engaging in a repeated pattern of using excessive force, including deadly force, and other misconduct that disproportionately harms…

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What Happens If You Can’t Agree Whether Bargaining Should Be In Public?

Lincoln County, Washington and Teamsters Local 690 are parties to two collective bargaining agreements. One covers commissioned officers and the other covers non-commissioned employees of the sheriff’s office. On September 6, 2016, the County enacted Resolution 16-22, which resolved to “conduct all collective bargaining contract negotiations in a manner that is open to the public.” On January 17, 2017, the County and Local 690 met and negotiated during the…

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Citizens’ Initiative An End-Run Around The Bargaining Process

In November 2010, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders declared that he would develop a citizens’ initiative to eliminate traditional pensions for new hires, except in the police and fire departments, and replace the old pension system with a 401(k)-style plan. San Diego’s charter establishes a “strong mayor” form of government, under which Sanders acted as the City’s chief executive officer. His responsibilities included recommending measures and ordinances to the…

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Wyoming Law Requires That Volunteers Be Included In Firefighter Bargaining Unit

Under the Wyoming state law that governs collective bargaining for firefighters, the term “firefighters” is defined, “unless the context requires a different interpretation,” as “paid members of any regularly constituted fire department in any city, town or county within the state.” The statutes go on to provide that firefighters “have the right to bargain collectively with their respective cities, towns or counties” and have the right “to be represented…

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‘Site Visits’ To Fire Stations Violate Duty To Bargain

Firefighters in Santa Rosa, California are represented by Local 1401 of the International Association of Firefighters. Over the years, the Fire Department considered the creation of a second battalion chief position. Though industry standards warranted the creation of the position, funding was always an insurmountable hurdle. There was no discussion of what became known as “the BC2 plan” during negotiations for the 2013-2015 Memorandum of Understanding between Local 1401…

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The Consequences Of Failing To Carefully Read A Proposal

The New England Police Benevolent Association and the City of Caribou, Maine have negotiated collective bargaining agreements since the Association was certified as the bargaining agent in 2011. In September 2015, the parties had their first negotiation session for a successor agreement to the one set to expire on December 31, 2015. At this meeting, the parties agreed to ground rules, exchanged proposals and were able to come to…

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Employer Not Allowed To Terminate Contract While Arbitration Pending

Under Illinois law, firefighter and police unions have the right to seek binding interest arbitration if negotiations for a new contract are not successful. When negotiations with the Village of North Riverside came to impasse, Local 2714 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) sought interest arbitration. The Village responded by sending a letter to all firefighters announcing its intention to terminate the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and…

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Minimum Staffing For Police Not Negotiable In Illinois

Section 9.6 of the collective bargaining agreement between the Village of Maywood and the Illinois Council of Police provide that “the Village agrees it shall maintain a force of full-time sworn police officers large enough to cover the three daily combined shifts with a minimum of five full-time sworn uniformed police officers. Sergeants shall count towards manning when assigned to street duties.” The agreement itself expired on April 30,…

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Bargaining Law Prevails Over Local Residency Requirement

Rank-and-file Pittsburgh police officers are represented by Lodge 1 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). A provision in Lodge 1’s contract with the City provided that if the Pennsylvania State Legislature enacted legislation related to residency for “police officers in cities of the second class” (which includes Pittsburgh), the parties could reopen the contract to bargain over residency. The reopener clause included the right to seek binding arbitration…

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Employer Must Bargain Before Changing Past Practice Of Reimbursing For Medicare B Premiums

The Albany Police Officer’s Union represents police officers and some other employees working for the City of Albany, New York. Since the late 1980s, the City consistently reimbursed the Union’s active members for their Medicare Part B monthly premiums upon their retirement. In October 2008, the City sent a notice to all retirees of various changes to the City’s offered health plans. With regard to Medicare Part B reimbursements,…

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Employer Must Bargain Over Use Of Vehicle Locator System

In 2014, Riverside County, California, debated installing an Automated Vehicle Locator (AVL) system on some or all of the vehicles used by the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. Once installed onto a vehicle, the AVL system uses GPS near real-time information about the vehicle’s course, velocity, and location. The Department asked the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association (RSA) for “input and feedback” on the system. Through its attorney, Adam Chaikin, the Association responded…

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Change in Firearm ‘Loaner’ Policy Negotiable

The International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) represents approximately 1,300 deputies and sergeants employed by the Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s Department. The Department requires its sworn employees to carry firearms while on duty and the Sheriff encourages them to carry backup firearms. The Department does not provide firearms to the deputies to carry while on duty. An approved duty firearm, extra magazines, a secondary holster and night sights cost…

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