Griffin School District & PERC to Review Duty to Negotiate Furlough

Ogden Murphy Wallace recently filed an amicus brief in conjunction with King County on behalf of the cities of Edmonds and Gig Harbor in the appeal of Griffin School District.  The appeal is from a Hearing Examiner finding that the District committed an unfair labor practice when it implemented furloughs without negotiating the decision to change its hours and days of operation.  The case has major implications for public employers and highlights the conflict between collective bargaining obligations and an entity’s right to determine the method and manner of service delivery.  The case will undoubtedly work its way through the court system over the next few years.  Municipal employers will have to decide whether to bargain furloughs or risk a ULP.  The risk of being wrong could be significant if the decision is upheld—one potential remedy is the payment of back wages for the furlough period.  City councils will be faced with tough decisions, particularly if I-1033 passes.  Many councils balk at cutting services, preferring to reduce staff in general through layoffs and furloughs .  In our current environment, few organizations have “fat” to cut and most are running so lean that it will be difficult to lay off employees without decisions to cut a particular program or service. 

As you approach your budget process, let’s discuss your CBA’s and what strategic and tactical options are open to your organization.  Email Scott Snyder  if you would like a copy of the Griffin School District brief—it highlights the economic dilemma’s faced by governmental entities nationwide.

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