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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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Off-The-Record Proposal Can Still Be Binding

Fire District 1 in Snohomish County, Washington and Local 1828 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) were parties to a collective bargaining agreement that expired in 2014. The District’s revenues dropped sharply during the most recent economic recession. As a result, the District implemented a series of cost-cutting measures, including as a hiring freeze that resulted in staffing shortages. In order to alleviate the economic pressure on…

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Disciplinary Matrix Subordinate To ‘Just Cause” Provision In Contract

The City of Findlay, Ohio and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Sergeant David Hill has worked for the Findlay Police Department since 1999. On July 6, 2012, Hill helped to create a video of him using a taser against the son of a fellow officer. The video violated the Department’s social media policy. As a result, the Department issued Hll a written…

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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. A provision in Lodge 1’s contract with the City provides 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 if…

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Firefighters, Staffing, And Bargaining

While workplace safety is generally a mandatory subject for collective bargaining, labor boards have struggled to deal with whether staffing issues – which may have an impact on safety – are themselves negotiable. Most labor boards have found that peace officer staffing issues are not negotiable, and that where firefighter staffing measured per piece of equipment is bargainable, broader firefighter staffing issues (firefighters per shift, or per population) are…

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Miami Not Allowed To Unilaterally Change Police Contract Without Bargaining

Florida’s collective bargaining law calls for a modified meet-and-confer process. If bargaining fails to produce an agreement, the parties proceed to a hearing before a special magistrate, who makes recommendations as to each open issue in bargaining. If both parties do not accept the magistrate’s recommendations, or if an agreement is not otherwise reached, the employer is allowed to unilaterally implement its last, best offer. Rank-and-file officers in the…

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Arbitrator, Not Court, Should Define ‘Grandparents’

Deputy Angela Molea submitted a request to her employer, the Summit County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio, to use bereavement leave to attend the funeral of her husband’s grandfather. The collective bargaining agreement between the County and Molea’s labor organization, the Fraternal Order of Police, permitted the use of bereavement leave for “grandparents.” Although similar requests had been granted in the past, the Sheriff denied Molea’s request, citing the execution…

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Contract Takes Precedence Over ADA Accommodations

Linda Faulkner was a corrections officer with the Douglas County, Nebraska Correctional Center. On August 6, 2012, Faulkner was involved in an inmate altercation. She suffered a left shoulder strain, hand contusion, contusion of the lumbar region, and a lumbar strain. After these conditions resolved, Faulkner discovered that she suffered from cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy. Faulkner’s doctor determined that the condition was not job-related, but was instead the result…

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Unless Otherwise Specified, Bargaining Waivers Expire With Contract

The Police Officers Labor Council (POLC) represents a bargaining unit comprised of police command officers employed by the Township of Van Buren, Michigan. The POLC and the Township were parties to a collective bargaining agreement in effect from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2013. Section 1 of Article XXI contained the following provision: “The Union waives any right to negotiate on any item that involves the pension until…

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‘Entire Agreement’ Proposal Not Mandatory For Bargaining

On May 12, 2016, the Village of Skokie and Local 3033 of the International Association of Fire Fighters reached an impasse in bargaining. One of the key issues was the Village’s proposal to maintain the “entire agreement” clause in the contract as mandatory for collective bargaining. The Village and Local 3033 jointly filed a petition with the Illinois Labor Relations Board, seeking a ruling on whether the continuation of…

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Q & A

From North Dakota Question: Can an employee be compelled to use earned compensatory time before other forms of leave are utilized or within a specific date range (i.e. within pay cycle; within 14 days of earning)? Answer: In a non-union environment, the FLSA gives the employer the authority to force the employee to use comp time, even on days when the employee might not want the time off. From…

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Employer Required To Bargain Over Providing Coffee

As a gesture of goodwill during a period of high mandatory overtime in 2007, King County, Washington began providing coffee to its correctional employees in the Juvenile Detention Center, the King County Correctional Facility, and the Maleng Regional Justice Center. The County provided coffee in the break room at the Juvenile Detention Center and in the “blue rooms” of the King County Correctional Facility and Maleng Regional Justice Center….

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Body-Worn Cameras And Bargaining

The first cases in the country are coming in on the fundamental question of whether employers are required to bargain over the implementation of body-worn camera (BWC) systems. The first two decisions on the issue have now found significant aspects of the policies negotiable. The first case produced two separate decisions from “Permanent Umpire” Ira Jaffe in Montgomery County, Maryland. The Umpire was appointed to hear claims from Lodge…

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Step Increases After A Contract Expires

A question about step increases arises with some frequency. Need an employer continue to pay step increases after a contract has expired but before a new contract is negotiated? A recent decision of an appeals court in New Jersey illustrates how issues such as this fall under what is known as the “status quo” doctrine. The status quo rule requires an employer to maintain existing levels of wages, hours,…

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The FLSA, Comp Time, And Bargaining

Section 207(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act sets a series of rules as to when compensatory time off is a legal substitute for cash compensation for overtime. Among the requirements of Section 7(o) is that if the employees have a collective bargaining representative, there must be an agreement between the union and the employer to use compensatory time off. Since Section 7(o) was adopted in 1985, there has…

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Off-Duty Social Media Policy Mandatory For Bargaining

The Newark Police Superior Officers’ Association represents sergeants, lieutenants and captains in the Newark, New Jersey Police Department. In May 2015, the Department issued a new social media policy. The policy, which the Department described as containing “sensible guidelines,” regulated on- and off-duty social media use. The policy cautioned that “negative references to official duties and responsibilities can be perceived as detrimental toward the Newark Police Department. Offensive, derogatory…

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Q & A

From Connecticut Question: Is there a law that prohibits the commanding officer/chief from being in the same Union as those under his/her command? Seems like Union protection and management rights conflict. Answer: There’s no national-level law on this issue. The composition of bargaining units is exclusively a matter of state law. In some states, even a chief can be in a bargaining unit where in others it would be…

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Most New Jersey State Police Captains Are Not ‘Managerial Executives’

Under New Jersey law, employees with duties qualifying as “managerial executives” have no collective bargaining rights. The pertinent state statute states that the term “means persons who formulate management policies and practices, but shall not mean persons who are charged with the responsibility of directing the effectuation of such management policies and practices, except that, in the case of the Executive Branch of the State of New Jersey, ‘managerial…

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E-Z Passes For Retirees Contractually Protected

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Port Authority Police Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. When the Authority eliminated free electronic toll collection system (known as E-Z Pass) privileges for retirees, the SBA challenged the decision in arbitration. An arbitrator ruled in the Association’s favor, relying on a 1973 Port Authority “Administrative Instruction,” PAI 40–1.01, that provides that retired…

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Union Can Assume City’s Negotiators Have Authority

The City of Springfield, Illinois and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent and Protective Association are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. The contract has long contained a “purging” clause requiring the expunction from personnel files after five years of all letters of suspension. In 2013, the City and the Association entered into a Memorandum of Understanding modifying the purging clause to call for removal of suspension records four (and not five)…

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Q & A

From Maryland Question: Can you poll your members if they use the health care provided to them by the State or by another source (retiree benefit from another jurisdiction, spouse /partner) without violating any laws concerning privacy (HIPAA, ADA, ACA)? Answer: We’re not health insurance experts, but our take on this would be that so long as you were not obtaining any diagnostic information, there would be nothing inappropriate…

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Sheriff Ordered To Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement

For many years, Sheriff Mike Scott of Lee County, Florida has opposed the unionization of the County’s deputy sheriffs. In 2009, when deputies were considering joining a union, Scott ended an email about the unionization effort with the comment, “I am reminded of a popular saying, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.” Finally, in 2011, the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) was elected as the bargaining representative for…

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Florida Mayor Cannot Veto Council’s Resolution Of Bargaining Impasse

The Dade County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) and the Mayor of Dade County began negotiations in 2011 for successor collective bargaining agreements for the rank-and-file and supervisory police officers employed by the County. By November 2011, the parties reached agreement on all issues except one: Whether the bargaining unit employees would be required to contribute an additional percentage of their base wages towards the cost of health insurance. The…

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Florida Mayor Cannot Veto Council’s Resolution Of Bargaining Impasse

The Dade County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) and the Mayor of Dade County began negotiations in 2011 for successor collective bargaining agreements for the rank-and-file and supervisory police officers employed by the County. By November 2011, the parties reached agreement on all issues except one: Whether the bargaining unit employees would be required to contribute an additional percentage of their base wages towards the cost of health insurance. The…

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Firefighters Win Injunction To Preserve Collective Bargaining, Temporarily

Courts have long held that collective bargaining is not a constitutionally-protected right. Public sector unions are granted the right to negotiate the terms and conditions of employment either by state statute or, in states without a bargaining law, by local charter or ordinance. As was seen in Wisconsin and Ohio in the last few years, the right to bargain can change or be eliminated entirely by the body enacting…

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