Archive for the ‘Collective Bargaining’ category

Teamsters Local 763 v. City of Mukilteo – Status Quo

November 19, 2010

This office was recently successful in overturning a trial court decision finding that the City had committed an unfair labor practice by failing to maintain the status quo after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement.  When a collective bargaining agreement expires, an employer is required to maintain the terms and conditions of employment that existed when the agreement expired while negotiating a new agreement.  In this particular case, the City had agreed to pay health insurance premiums.  The City’s contribution increases were limited to a maximum increase of 11% above the 2001 rates in 2002, 10% above the 2002 rates in 2003, and 10% above the 2003 rates in 2004.  When the contract expired in 2005, the City continued to pay the same dollar amount it paid in 2004.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the City was only required to pay the fixed dollar amount it paid in 2004 during the contract negotiations, distinguishing between other cases of “dynamic status quo.”  For example, in previous PERC cases in which the employer was contractually obligated to pay 100% of the health insurance premiums, the Commission held that the employer would have to continue to pay 100% during the period of contract negotiations and committed an unfair labor practice by continuing to pay the same dollar amount previously paid.  However, because the City’s contribution each year was tied to the dollar amount paid in the first year of the contract, the City’s contribution was a fixed rate rather than a dynamic rate.  If you have any questions about status quo and dynamic status quo, please contact your city attorney.

Griffin School District & PERC to Review Duty to Negotiate Furlough

October 15, 2009

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.