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Individual Must Be Employee For Union Interference Statute To Apply

A Florida statute makes it an unfair labor practice for a public employer to interfere with, restrain or coerce a “public employee” who is engaged in union activity. The Florida Court of Appeals, reversing a decision of Florida’s Public Employment Relations Board, found that an employer’s refusal to hire an applicant could not be covered by the statute. The case involved Jeffrey Stanley, who worked for the Broward County…

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Referring Ballot Measure To Voters Is Not Unfair Labor Practice

Since 2004, the City of Eugene, Oregon has had a civilian police auditor generally involved in the internal affairs process. The implementing ordinance provided that the City Council “may” authorize the auditor to have access to all internal affairs evidence and to participate in interviews. In 2008, the City Council referred to the voters a ballot measure that changed the word “may” to “shall.” The Eugene Police Employees Association…

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Time To File Unfair Labor Practice Is Triggered By Implementation Of Change In Working Conditions, Not Notice Of Change

Most state collective bargaining laws have a relatively quick statute of limitations on the filing of an unfair labor practice. A recent Oregon case dealt with the question of whether the statute of limitations is triggered by an employer's notice that it intends to make a change in working conditions, or rather by the implementation of the decision itself. The case involved Washington County and the Washington County Police…

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Four-Month Delay In Starting Bargaining Amounts To An Unfair Labor Practice

The Washington State Patrol Troopers Association and the State of Washington were parties to a collective bargaining agreement that allowed either party to “request negotiations of a successor agreement by notifying the other party in writing no sooner than January 1, 2008.” Notwithstanding this provision, the Association started early on the process of attempting to schedule 2008 negotiation sessions. In October 2007, Jeffrey Julius, the Association's chief negotiator, sent…

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In Spite Of Contract Clause, Sheriff’s Union Entitled to See Other Deputies’ Disciplinary Files

Corrections officers working for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin are represented by Local 567 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. A clause in the collective bargaining agreement requires a written authorization from employees before release of personnel records. When a corrections officer received a ten-day suspension after an inmate he was guarding escaped from a medical clinic, Local 567 filed a grievance challenging the disciplinary decision. Local…

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Policy Prohibiting Criticism By Supervisors Has Both Labor Relations And Constitutional Dimensions

The Town of Sanford, Maine Police Department issued a new rule that prohibited supervisors from criticizing Department policies and procedures in the presence of subordinates. The Sanford Police Association filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the Maine Labor Relations Board, contending that the new rule unlawfully interfered with the exercise of protected rights by bargaining unit members. The Board rejected the Town’s request that it dismiss the complaint….

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A Day Late, A Lawsuit Lost

Christopher Noonan, a fire captain, was terminated from his employment with the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan Fire Department on December 27, 2007. Noonan was alleged to have threatened subordinates and to have had a gun in his personal vehicle on the Department’s premises in violation of a Departmental rule. Noonan challenged his termination through the grievance procedure in the City’s contract with the Ann Arbor Fire Fighters Association….

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Employer Required To Develop Policy To Retain Labor Relations E-Mails

Part of the obligation to collectively bargain in good faith is the obligation to share information about grievances. When the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild sought information about a disciplinary grievance, the City refused the Guild’s request, citing, among other things, the fact that it believed that the materials were privileged. An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Washington Public Employment Relations Commission ruled against the City, finding that the…

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Victims Not Entitled To Union Representation During Meeting

Melissa Forsette and Jill Foley are police officers with the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Their labor organization, Lodge 2 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), filed a grievance on their behalf alleging a hostile work environment. In particular, the FOP alleged that the Police Chief had referred to Forsette and Foley as being “whores” for requesting the same overtime work opportunities as their male counterparts. Raymond Hayes, the…

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Cincinnati ‘Zero For Five’ On Assistant Chief Positions

In 2001, Cincinnati voters passed a charter amendment that removed guaranteed Civil Service Commission appeal protections for assistant police chiefs and allowed them to be appointed by the City Manager. In 2004 and 2005, the City and Lodge 69 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the assistant chiefs, negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement. The City proposed removing all references to assistant police chief positions from the…

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State Required To Submit Funding Request To Legislature To Implement Trooper Arbitration Award

Though state troopers working for the Washington State Patrol are generally covered by Washington’s collective bargaining statutes calling for binding arbitration as the last step of the bargaining process, Washington state law has some unusual trooper-specific statutes. In particular, a statute provides that after an arbitration hearing, “the Governor shall submit a request for funds necessary to implement the wage and wage-related matters in the collective bargaining agreement or…

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Decision To Lay Off Firefighters Not Subject To Bargaining

As of the end of 2004, the City of Richmond, California had seven fire stations. There was a fire engine at each of the stations and a fire truck at two of the stations, although one of the trucks was not regularly staffed. If a second truck company was needed, the engine at one of the stations would be taken out of service and the engine’s crew would then…

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Employer Required To Disclose Pre-Disciplinary Interviews And Identity Of Witnesses

In October 2004, Local 2898 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents rank-and-file employees of the Seattle Fire Department filed a grievance on behalf of a bargaining unit member alleging that the employer imposed discipline without just cause. The grievance eventually proceeded to arbitration. Prior to the arbitration hearing, Local 2898 requested that the City provide it with full disclosure of the names of all individuals interviewed…

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Trooper Improperly Suspended For Engaging In Union Activity

Scott Nichols has been a trooper with the Michigan State Police (MSP) for 19 ½ years, and has been the representative for the Michigan State Police Troopers Association at the Lansing post. In 2007, the MSP was considering a reorganization plan that would have transferred part of Clinton County, Michigan away from the Lansing post. Nichols was critical of the plan. At one point, Nichols gave a television interview…

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