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September 9, 2010

Unit exclusivity

Unit exclusivity
CSEA and Warrensburg CSD, 30 PERB 3056
Suffolk Co Corrections Officers Assoc v PERB, App. Div., 246 A.D.2d 660

Exclusivity is an important issue to a collective bargaining unit. It sets out those tasks that may be performed only by unit members to the exclusion of all others. An employer violates its duty to negotiate under Section 209-a.1(d) of the Civil Service Law if it unilaterally transfers work “established and maintained exclusively by a collective bargaining unit” to non-unit workers.

In the Warrensburg case, CSEA Local 857 charged that the Warrensburg Central School District violated Section 209-a.1(d) when it assigned chaperoning duties at plays and concerts to employees represented by the Warrensburg Teachers Association [Association], a different negotiating unit.

The District contended that under a memorandum of understanding, members of the Teachers Association had “the right of first refusal in chaperoning all school events.”

PERB sustained its administrative law judge’s finding that District administrators regularly served in a chaperoning capacity at these events and thus CSEA did not have exclusivity with respect to performing such duties.

PERB said that collective bargaining agreements between the Association and the District dating back to 1982 specifically covered “chaperoning duties and rights,” while Local 857 agreements were silent with respect to such activities.

PERB rejected Local 857’s argument that it had “exclusivity” with respect to concerts conducted at the high school while Association members regularly chaperoned elementary school concerts, commenting that “the location of a concert, being unrelated to chaperoning duties, cannot form any discernible boundary within which to test exclusivity.”

A similar case involved the Suffolk County Court, First District, located in Hauppauge, which employed 18 correction officers who were responsible for the care and custody of detainees being held there.

In 1992 the Court was moved to Central Islip from Hauppauge and the 18 correction officers were reassigned to the Suffolk County Maximum Security facility in Riverhead. Deputy sheriffs were assigned to take care of the detainees at the Court’s Central Islip facility.

The Suffolk County Correction Officers Association [SCCOA], filed an improper practice charge against the County with PERB, contending that the County’s unilateral transferring the responsibility for District Court detainees to deputy sheriffs violated Section 201.a[1](d) and (e) of the Civil Service Law. SCCOA argued that the Taylor Law required that “prior negotiations” be undertaken before such a change could be implemented.

A PERB administrative law judge [ALJ] determined that SCCOA did not prove that its unit members had previously performed the duties reassigned to the deputy sheriffs exclusively. After PERB affirmed the ALJ’s ruling, SCCOA appealed. The Appellate Division affirmed PERB’s determination.
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