Monthly Archives: April 2015

Appellate Division Affirms Commission’s Staffing/Overtime Decision

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Union of Rutgers Administrators-American Federation of Teachers, Local 1766, AFL-CIO

In P.E.R.C. No. 2014-41, the Commission restrained binding arbitration over the assignment of non-unit members to perform boiler checks in Rutgers’s heating and cooling plants when negotiations unit members are on vacation.  Ignoring precedent cited to it by the Union, including a 1980 Appellate Division decision that also involved Rutgers, the Commission found that this case primarily involved the non-arbitrable issue of staffing levels rather than the arbitrable issue of which Rutgers employees will perform boiler checks when unit employees are out.  The Appellate Division affirmed finding that “the University’s assignment of [non-unit members] to handle boiler checks when [unit members] are out is a matter that implicates its responsibility to spend the public’s funds wisely and efficiently allocate its limited resources.  As for the Union’s contention that PERC’s decision was a departure from other decisions the Commission had issued, and its contention that the Commission failed to engage in the balancing of interests required by the Supreme Court, the Court concluded “that these arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion.”

Advertisements

Comments Off on Appellate Division Affirms Commission’s Staffing/Overtime Decision

Filed under 2015

Commission Rules That Employer May Not Be Required to Hire from Union Hiring Hall

Hamilton Township Board of Education and Mercer County & Vicinity Building Trades Council

In an issue of first impression, the Commission held that a public employer cannot bind itself to hire as employees only those workers who are referred through a union hiring all.  P.E.R.C. No. 2015-71.

Comments Off on Commission Rules That Employer May Not Be Required to Hire from Union Hiring Hall

Filed under 2015

Commission Requires Removal of Contract Language That Addressed Fire Equipment Staffing Levels

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

City of Plainfield and Plainfield Fire Officers Association Local 207, and Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association, Local No. 7

In P.E.R.C. No. 2015-40, the Commission held that public employers are not required to negotiate over how many firefighters will be on duty or how many will be assigned to a truck, even where such staffing decisions affect employee safety.

Comments Off on Commission Requires Removal of Contract Language That Addressed Fire Equipment Staffing Levels

Filed under 2015

Commission Reaffirms that Compensation for Increased Workload is Negotiable

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

Somerset Hills Board of Education and Somerset Hills Education Association

In P.E.R.C. No. 2015-34, the Commission permitted arbitration of a grievance that claimed that the school board implemented new lesson plan initiatives and other teaching objectives that substantially increased workload beyond contractual limits without compensation for the additional work.  The Commission rejected the Board’s argument that education regulations preempted negotiations over the impact on workload of student growth objectives and teacher evaluation and observation methods.

Comments Off on Commission Reaffirms that Compensation for Increased Workload is Negotiable

Filed under 2015

Commission Rules That Nurses’ Work Schedules Not Subject to Negotiations

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Health Professionals and Allied Employees, Local 5089

In P.E.R.C. No. 2015-17, the Commission restrained binding arbitration of a grievance challenging the elimination of 29 full-time positions as a “reorganization” instead of “layoff,” and the creation of .9 positions without negotiations.  UMDNJ argued that it had a managerial prerogative to use .9 positions to respond to a decline in patient census.  .9 employees are close to full-time but are eligible for only 1/2 of the uniform allowance and tuition reimbursement, and they accrue vacation, sick and float time at a reduced rate.  HPAE responded that a decline in patient census is an economic reason for creating .9 positions that should have followed the layoff provision of the contract with its additional bumping rights and the right to unemployment benefits for nurses who were separated from employment.  The Commission recognized that work schedules are, as a general rule, mandatorily negotiable, but then found that UMDNJ was responding to a decline in patient population and therefore had a managerial prerogative to reallocate its staff to meet patent needs.

Comments Off on Commission Rules That Nurses’ Work Schedules Not Subject to Negotiations

Filed under 2015