Thursday, October 20, 2011

Creating a negotiating unit


Creating a negotiating unit
Teamsters Local 264 and Town of Cheektowaga, 35 PERB 4020

In considering the petition filed by Local 264 seeking represent a proposed collective bargaining unit consisting of part-time court officers employed by the Town of Cheektowaga, PERB Administrative Law Judge [ALJ] Lynn Fitzgerald ruled that the part-time court officers should be included in the bargaining unit represented by the Cheektowaga Employees Association [CEA].

Local 264 had argued that the eight part-time court officers did not share "a community of interest" with the employees in the unit represented by CEA. It contended that “because CEA has no part-time employees, there is an inherent conflict between court officers and CEA employees, who are all full-time employees with benefits," and the part-time court officers who do not receive such benefits.

The ALJ said that PERB "has long held that, in the creation of bargaining units, it is not sufficient that the petitioned for unit is appropriate; instead, the question is whether the unit is the `most appropriate,' and, further, whether it provides for the creation of the largest possible unit which permits for effective negotiations."

What is the "most appropriate" unit? Citing Hewlett-Woodmere Union Free School District, 24 PERB 4043, Judge Fitzgerald said that:

It is well settled that the "most appropriate unit" is the largest one permitting for effective and meaningful negotiations; only diverse employee interests, either actual or potential, warrant the establishment of smaller units.

Significantly, the ALJ noted that the court officers' duties did not entail their being engaged in any law enforcement responsibilities that might otherwise justify their placement in a separate or different negotiating unit.

In County of Erie and Eric County Sheriff, 29 PERB 3031, PERB held that there is a unique community of interest among law enforcement personnel who are engaged in the full range of law enforcement activities such as the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the general criminal law of the State.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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