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Collective Bargaining Discussions

Public·299 members
Jesse Slone
Board Member

Here's the team summary from Tuesday's bargaining.  I apologize for the delay.

Bargaining Session #13 Summary:

  • SU negotiators expected the State to open this session with a wage proposal in response to the wage proposal we presented April 4. The State did not have a wage proposal ready, so the parties caucused and worked on other proposals. After the caucus break, the State proposed a package of Articles 16, 25, 26, 27, 29, and 37

  • Following a break, the State presented a package encompassing Articles 16 (Tools, Uniforms, And Safety), 25 (Overtime, Recall, And Standby), 26 (Holidays), 27 (Travel, Per Diem and Moving), 29 (Leave), and 37 (Legal Trust Fund).

  • Article 25 was discussed, including incorporating a letter of agreement regarding standby assignments on a person's regular day off (RDO) and extending the 16-hour-per-day cap on flex time accrual for class 1 employees under emergency assignments (currently you cannot get credit for more than 16 hours in a day, which is a problem when managing a 24hr emergency).

  • Concerns were raised regarding the non-inclusion of SU's proposals on retroactive adjustments and the treatment of holidays in calculating flex time.

Further Actions and Future Sessions:

  • SU is preparing a counter proposal that includes Article 18 in addition to versions of the articles proposed in the State's package proposal.

  • Future sessions were agreed on, with tentative plans for half-day sessions next week to accommodate financial assessments and more frequent proposals, focusing on the anticipated wage proposal from the State. Someone asked in another thread about bargaining in good faith, I figured I would include it here as well: Bargaining in good faith is a fundamental principle that guides the process of collective bargaining between unions and employers. It requires both parties to engage in honest, earnest, and constructive dialogue without intent to deceive or apply unnecessary delays. The principle aims to ensure that both parties are committed to reaching a mutual agreement and are willing to make reasonable concessions when necessary.

Definition of Bargaining in Good Faith

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in the United States, which governs most private sector labor relations, defines good faith bargaining as the obligation of the parties to meet and negotiate at reasonable times with willingness to reach agreement on matters within the scope of representation. This includes discussing wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. The parties are not required to agree or even make concessions but must be willing to consider proposals and provide counter-proposals.

Implications for Collective Bargaining

  1. Scope of Negotiation: Good faith bargaining limits negotiators to discussing matters that are directly related to employment conditions, such as salaries, workplace safety, hours, benefits, and other employment terms. This requirement ensures that the negotiations are relevant and focused on employment matters.

  2. Frequency and Willingness to Meet: Both parties are expected to meet at reasonable times and intervals without unnecessary postponements. This means negotiators must be proactive in scheduling negotiation sessions and ensuring they attend these meetings prepared to discuss and progress.

  3. Provision of Necessary Information: Good faith bargaining requires that employers provide the union with all relevant information needed for meaningful negotiation. For example, if wage levels are being discussed, the employer may need to provide financial data justifying their pay scale proposals.

  4. Manner of Negotiation: Parties must engage in discussions respectfully and constructively, avoiding any conduct that might undermine the bargaining process. This includes refraining from insulting language, threats, or unduly aggressive tactics that could impede negotiations.

  5. Refusal to Make Unilateral Changes: Employers are prohibited from making unilateral changes to conditions covered under the bargaining agreement or discussed in negotiations without consulting the union. This respects the collective aspect of the bargaining process and recognizes the union's role as a representative of the workers.

  6. Avoiding Surface Bargaining: Simply going through the motions without any real intent to reach an agreement, also known as surface bargaining, is considered bad faith. Both parties are expected to make genuine efforts to reach a compromise or a full agreement.

Limitations on Negotiators

Good faith bargaining imposes certain limitations on what negotiators can do during collective bargaining, including:

  • Limiting Extremist Demands: Making extreme demands that are not expected to be accepted or offering terms that are deliberately unacceptable could be seen as not bargaining in good faith.

  • Avoiding Delay Tactics: Employers or unions must not use delaying tactics, such as repeatedly cancelling meetings or indefinitely postponing discussions on key issues.

  • Prohibiting Unilateral Actions: During the bargaining process, especially when it involves issues under negotiation, neither party can unilaterally change terms without the other’s agreement.

  • Regressive bargaining: This occurs when one party introduces a proposal that is worse than a previous offer without a valid reason, usually in an attempt to pressure the other side into making concessions. If regressive bargaining is used as a tactic and is challenged, it could lead to legal disputes or intervention by labor relations boards or courts, which may rule the practice as an unfair labor practice.

These limitations are designed to promote fairness, equity, and productivity in negotiations, leading ideally to mutually agreeable contracts that reflect both parties’ needs and contributions. Engaging in good faith is essential for maintaining a constructive and legally compliant bargaining relationship.

Michael Schwahn


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