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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The allocation of positions in the public service to salary grades is a permissive rather than a mandatory subject of collective bargaining

The allocation of positions in the public service to salary grades is a permissive rather than a mandatory subject of collective bargaining
County of Tompkins v. Tompkins County Unit of CSEA (PERB U-5676)

Is the classification and allocation of positions a mandatory subject of negotiations under the Taylor Law? In County of Tompkins v. Tompkins County Unit of CSEA PERB ruled that classification and allocation matters were permissive rather than mandatory subjects of collective bargaining for the purposes of the Taylor Law.

The Tompkins County case arose when the County refused to negotiate the allocation of newly established positions that were in a negotiating unit represented by CSEA.

The Union filed an improper practice charge and the PERB hearing officer ruled that the allocation of positions in an employer’s workforce was a mandatory subject of negotiations. He then dismissed the case upon his finding that the County had reserved to itself the authority to allocate positions in the “Management’s Rights” clause of the contract, which he said precluded negotiations on the subject during the life of the Agreement.

However, the hearing officer had rejected the County’s argument that State and case law, including Evans v. Newman, 49 NY2d 904. Tompkins County contended that the Evan’s decision’s holding that the classification and allocation of positions were not terms and conditions of employment with respect to positions with the State as the employer* was equally applicable to municipal positions.

On appeal, PERB said that it had reconsidered its earlier decisions on the subject and now concluded that the holding in Evans was a general statement of the law “whose applicability was not restricted to the parties in that case.” PERB said that in reconsidering its earlier decisions regarding local employers, “we [now] conclude as to them, as the Court did with respect to the State employees, that allocation and reallocation are an essential aspect of the level and quality of service to be provided by a public employer.”

PERB decided that a public employer should not be compelled to negotiate over such decisions and held that allocations of positions to salary grades are not mandatory subjects of negotiations.

* Evans was employed by the State’s Office of Court Administration.


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