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Labor Negotiations

NEGOTIATIONS 101: THE BASICS

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NEGOTIATIONS 101: THE BASICS
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Legal Overview by Gregory J. Dannis
 
Why do we negotiate?
 
  • Educational Employment Relations Act (“The Rodda Act”) (Gov. Code, §§ 3540 et seq.)
  • Improve personnel management and employer-employee relations
  • Scope of Representation: matters relating to wages, hours of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment (Gov. Code, § 3543.2, subd. (a).)
 
Enumerated terms and conditions of employment:
 
  • Health and welfare benefits
  • Leaves of absence
  • Transfer and reassignment policies
  • Safety conditions of employment
  • Class size
  • Evaluation procedures
  • Organizational security
  • Grievance processing
  • Layoff of probationary employees
 
An un-enumerated matter may be within the scope of representation if it meets three-part test:
 
  1. It is logically and reasonably related to hours, wages, or an enumerated term and condition of employment;
  2. It is of such concern to both management and employees that conflict is likely to occur and the mediatory influence of collective negotiations is the appropriate means of resolving the conflict; and
  3. The employer's obligation to negotiate would not significantly abridge its freedom to exercise those managerial prerogatives essential to the achievement of the district's mission
 
All other matters are reserved to the discretion of the public school employer and may not be the subject to meeting and negotiating
 
Sunshining Process
 
  • Government Code section 3547: each party is obligated to introduce initial proposals on matters within scope of representation to public and give community an opportunity to review and comment
  • Prerequisite to formal negotiation
  • New subjects of meeting and negotiating must be made public within 24 hours after presentation
  • Any employer vote on a new subject must be made public within 24 hours after being taken
  • Public notice is not required for counterproposals or subjects that are inextricably connected to previously sunshined proposals
 
Duty to Bargain in Good Faith
 
  • School district employers and exclusive representatives are obligated to meet and negotiate in good faith on matters within scope of representation
  • Duty to bargain in good faith: 
    • Enumerated terms and conditions must be bargained between parties
    • Not an obligation to reach specific outcome, but to bargain in good faith
 
Elements of Good Faith Bargaining
 
  • Subjective desire to reach agreement
  • Judged by totality of the conduct
  • Prohibits acts that might frustrate the negotiations process
  • Includes duty to secure ratification
  • Bargaining team membership
  • Release time
  • Authority of representatives
  • Scheduling sessions/availability
  • Written proposals/justification & rationale
  • Responding to information requests
  • Lawful hard bargaining
 
The Impasse Process
 
  • When parties fail to reach agreement, they must engage in the impasse process
  • Bona fide impasse: point during negotiations over matters within the scope of representation at which the parties’ differences in positions are so substantial or prolonged that future meetings would be futile
  • Parties are obligated to participate in the statutory impasse resolution process:
    • Mediation
    • Fact-finding
    • Post-fact finding negotiation
    • Second impasse
    • Implementation of Last, Best and Final Offer
    • Concerted activities
  • No unilateral action during impasse procedures
  • After impasse procedures are exhausted, district may implement that which is contemplated within its last, best and final offer