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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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Failure To Act In Timely Fashion Amounts To Waiver Of Union’s Bargaining Rights

The obligation to collectively bargain usually requires an employer to negotiate over changes it wants to make in policies and procedures during the term of a contract if those changes either concern or impact a topic that is mandatorily negotiable under the law. Three exceptions exist to this “continuing duty to bargain”: If the union has waived the right to bargain over the change by agreeing to contract terms…

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Union Misses Deadlines, Loses 4% Raise

In 2010, Local 776 of the Teamsters Union was elected to represent police officers working for the Borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, replacing the Gettysburg Police Officers Association. Local 776 began bargaining with the Borough, and proposed wage increases for 2011, 2012, and 2013. When no agreement was reached, an arbitrator awarded 4% wage increases for 2011 and 2012, and a 3.99% wage increase for 2013. The Borough challenged the…

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Toledo Not Allowed To Unilaterally Modify Contract Provisions

The Toledo Police Command Officers’ Association represents supervisors in the Toledo, Ohio Police Department. In early 2009, the Association and the City began negotiating for a new contract. One of the issues under discussion was the amount of money the City would contribute to the officers’ pensions and health insurance premiums. Section 65 of the expired contract detailed a “pension pickup” provision, which described the amount of money the…

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‘Pecking Order’ For Special Details Subject To Negotiations

The Town of Burlington, Massachusetts unilaterally changed the “pecking order” for assignment to paid police detail work. The Burlington Municipal Employees Association, which represents supervisors in the Police Department, filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Town, contending that the method of assignment to paid details was subject to mid-term negotiations. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts agreed with the Association. The Court first rejected the Town’s contention that…

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Discipline Not Negotiable For Denver Firefighters

Until 2013, there was no statewide law in Colorado calling for collective bargaining for firefighters. However, many years ago the City and County of Denver adopted a charter provision calling for bargaining with employees, and Local 858 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and Denver have had a long bargaining relationship. In 2010, the City unilaterally attempted to change the Charter’s existing disciplinary system governing firefighter conduct. Specifically,…

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Miami Allowed To Reduce Wages, Eliminate Benefits, And Modify Pensions

Lodge 20 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) represents Miami’s rank-and-file police officers. On July 28, 2010, while the parties were engaged in negotiations for a successor agreement, the City declared a “financial urgency” and invoked a process set forth in an unusual Florida statute. The statute provides that in the event “of a financial urgency requiring modification of a collective bargaining agreement, the chief executive officer or…

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California PERB Requires Notice Before Changes That Have Negotiable Effects, Even Where Changes Non-Negotiable

By Tim Yeung In a recent decision involving the Santa Clara Correctional Peace Officers’ Association and Santa Clara County, California’s PERB lined out the bargaining rules that must be followed when an employer is exercising a management right where the exercise of the right has mandatorily negotiable effects. Among the unfair labor practice charges PERB considered was a claim that the County unilaterally changed staffing levels at its main…

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Unilateral Implementation Can Be Unconstitutional Even Though Allowed Under Bargaining Law

California’s public safety collective bargaining laws allow an employer to unilaterally implement its last best offer at the conclusion of the bargaining process. A case involving the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Protective League put an unusual twist on the unilateral implementation process. The LAPD Manual describes how qualified officers can obtain advanced pay grade and bonus positions, which involve additional compensation above the lowest…

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