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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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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Ohio Law Slashing Collective Bargaining Headed For November Ballot

The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office has certified for the November 2011 ballot a referendum petition seeking to overturn Senate Bill 5, the sweeping bill signed into law on April 1 which dramatically cuts the collective bargaining rights of public safety employees. Opponents of SB 5 submitted 915,456 valid signatures in support of the referendum; Ohio law required only 231,147 signatures. SB 5 was the product of contentious and…

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Q & A

From Ohio Question: Our contract states that all police officers will be full-time. Can the city (management) implement part time officers without negotiating because of budget problems? Answer: The general rule is that the implementation of part-time police jobs is a mandatory subject for bargaining, and cannot be unilaterally implemented without first negotiating with the labor organization. You should check with local counsel to determine whether Ohio follows that…

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Employer Not Allowed To Withdraw Take-Home Vehicles

Since the 1970s, police officers working for the City of Port Huron, Michigan have been assigned to take-home vehicles. When the City issued a new order eliminating the take-home vehicle policy, the Police Officers Association of Michigan, representing the officers, sought arbitration over the issue. An arbitrator sided with the Association and ordered the restoration of the past practice. Important in the Arbitrator’s decision was that the City had…

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Fire Inspectors Have No Right To Sue Under GPS Statute, Lose Jobs As A Result

Frank Gerardi and Stephen Vitka were fire inspectors for the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Their job duties included inspecting buildings located throughout the city for compliance with applicable fire codes. The City provided Gerardi and Vitka with city-owned vehicles to use in the performance of their duties. In May 2007, the City acquired new vehicles and, without advising Gerardi and Vitka, installed GPS devices in each of the vehicles…

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New Work Rule With Disciplinary Consequences Must Be Bargained

The Plymouth County, Massachusetts Sheriff’s Department enacted a new work rule that required employees to report all off-duty contact with law enforcement personnel. The Association of County Employees challenged the new work rule through the grievance procedure in the contract. An arbitrator upheld the Association’s grievance. The Arbitrator concluded that the County had “materially altered” the traditional interpretation of its work rule and had “substantially expanded its scope and…

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City Required To Bargain Over Change In Pension Board Rule

Firefighters working for the City of Portland, Oregon Fire Bureau are members of Local 43 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Most Local 43 members are covered by the City’s Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund, which is governed by an appointed board. In 2006, the Disability Fund and the Fire Bureau notified approximately 16 medically-restricted firefighters that they had been selected to participate in a new…

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Detective Entitled To Pay For Using Personal Vehicle Off Duty

The collective bargaining agreement between the Town of Warminster, Pennsylvania and the Warminster Township Police Benevolent Association (PBA) contains a clause requiring the Town to reimburse employees for the use of their personal vehicles and pay other expenses associated with official business. For many years, the Town had applied the clause to allow reimbursement for things such as gas mileage and meals associated with off-duty court appearances and training….

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New Disciplinary Standards Must Be Negotiated

Employers who operate in a collective bargaining environment are restricted in their ability to make changes in past practices in the areas that are “mandatory” for collective bargaining. Mandatory subjects of bargaining are typically set by state statute, and are usually captured by some version of the rubric “wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.” Where a topic is a mandatory subject of bargaining, the employer is not…

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