Seventh Circuit Rejects Union’s Constitutional Challenges to Wisconsin’s Collective Bargaining Law Amendments

By Jordan L. Jones

Seal_of_WisconsinIn Laborers Local 236 v. Walker, the Seventh Circuit denied the Union’s challenges that Wisconsin’s Act 10 (1), the controversial amendment to the Wisconsin collective bargaining law. The Union had alleged that the amendments infringed upon their First Amendment petition and association rights and (2) denies Union members the equal protection of the laws ensured by the Fourteenth Amendment.

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A Short, Readable History of Public Sector Collective Bargaining Published

By Jim Cline

FContract glassor those of our readers who would like a deeper understanding of the context and background of collective-bargaining rights, especially those public sector and public-safety employees, Toledo Law Professor Joseph Slater has published a very readable and condensed history of United States public-sector collective bargaining law. While Slater’s article is entitled “The Strangely Unsettled State of Public-Sector Labor in the past 30 Years,” he actually takes events back, nearly 100 years ago to the Boston Police Strike of 1919.  His focus on the 30-years, marks the departure point for which he believes public-sector collective-bargaining rights issues became more partisan and less stable.

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Social Network Regulation, Part II: Developing a Constitutional and Sound Policy that Recognizes Legitimate Department Interests

By Jim Cline

Social MediaIn Part One of this two-part series, we identified the growing problems associated with the Internet and its connected social media. Chiefly, we identified the problem associated with the new opportunities presented to public safety employees to be “stupid” in what they say or do on a much grander and more public scale. As we discussed, previous discipline cases addressed how to discipline officers and firefighters for misplaced communications to a narrow audience, such as the gathering of coworkers off-duty at the neighborhood bar. Now the Internet allows employees to event to the world. [Read more…]

Further Drop in Unionization Rates in 2012

By Jim Cline

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports nationwide unionization rates dropped markedly in 2012, dropping from 11.8% in 2011, to 11.3%.  BLS also reported that public sector unionization stood at 35.9%, while private sector unionization was at 6.6%.  These numbers in 2011, stood at 37.0 % and 6.9%, respectively.  In the 1950s, private sector unionization stood at about 35%.

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You Don’t Get what You Don’t Ask For: Arbitrator Unable to Award Unrequested Relief in CBA Violation

By Kate Acheson

In Central State University, 130 LA 1351 (Bell, 2012), Arbitrator Langdon Bell was precluded from awarding monetary damages against Central State University for a violation of their collective-bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with their security officers because the union did file a written request for a specific remedy.  Thus, although a violation with associated monetary damages was properly alleged, the Arbitrator could only direct the University to adhere to the CBA staffing guidelines in the future. [Read more…]

Despite Managerial Prerogative Provision in City Charter, Colorado Appeals Court Finds Disciplinary System to be a Mandatory Subject of Bargaining

By Kate Acheson

The City of Denver was recently thwarted in its attempt to unilaterally implement a new disciplinary system on firefighters.  In Denver Fire Fighters, Local 858 v. City & County of Denver, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the firefighters union’s claims that a “discipline matrix” – which defined penalties for rule violations – is a mandatory subject of bargaining.

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Alaska Supreme Court Recognizes Union Member Privilege

By Jim Cline  

In a precedent setting case, Alaska has become one of the first states to formally recognize the legal privilege between a union and its members.   In Peterson v. State of Alaska  (2012), the Alaska Supreme Court has held that the communications between a represented employee and his union were privileged and inadmissible in court. [Read more…]