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Robert E. Larkin III, Esquire Allen, Norton & Blue, P.A. 906 North Monroe Street Tallahassee, Florida 32303 (850) 561-3503 February 15, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Robert E. Larkin III, Esquire Allen, Norton & Blue, P.A. 906 North Monroe Street Tallahassee, Florida 32303 (850) 561-3503 February 15, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Robert E. Larkin III, Esquire Allen, Norton & Blue, P.A. 906 North Monroe Street Tallahassee, Florida (850) February 15, 2013

2 Overview of the Public Sector Collective Bargaining Process in Florida; Considerations in creating a Bargaining Team; Developing goals and proposals to meet those goals; Concept of bargaining and strategies for achieving agreement; Communications between the Bargaining Team and the City Council (Legislative Body); How the Impasse Resolution Process works.

3 City Manager is generally the CEO – F.S (2); (Mayor may also be CEO); City Council or Mayor is the Public Employer – F.S (9); City Council is always the Legislative Body – F.S (10); City Manager/Mayor is responsible for all aspects of bargaining, including the declaration of impasse. City Council is responsible for resolving the impasse.

4 Who should be on the Team? Selecting the right members Finance Director Human Resources Professionals Individuals who know the difference between Mandatory and Permissive Subjects of Bargaining Individuals who know what a waiver is and whether bargaining proposals can be imposed.

5 Who should NOT be on the Team? City Manager or Mayor? Fire Chief/Police Chief? Strong Personalities!  Who else?  Reaching out to the Union Representative – Credibility

6  Purpose of the Team  Performs necessary research for formulation of economic proposals (salary/benefit studies, etc);  Gathers input and formulates bargaining proposals /counter-proposals;  Liaison between Mayor/City Manager and Union and Mayor/City Manager and City Council;  Represents the employer in contract negotiations, through impasse if necessary;  Facilitates contract ratification and implementation process.

7  What is my current relationship with the union?  Where are we in the bargaining cycle? Reopeners or Entire Agreement

8 Long Term Goals v. Short Term Goals

9  Economic v. Operational Issues  Mandatory Subjects of Bargaining:  Wages, Hours and Terms and Conditions of Employment  Permissive Subjects of Bargaining  What is a Management Right and Impact Bargaining?  What is a Waiver? Can it be imposed?  Reaching out to the Union Representative  Credibility of Negotiator – Paramount!

10  Executive Sessions  What is an Executive Session?  Outside the Sunshine (Shade Meeting)  Permitted by Law – F.S  Meeting between Bargaining Team and Legislative Body.  Why have an executive session?  When should you have an executive session?

11  Executive Sessions  Help Council understand the bargaining process.  Inform Council of Bargaining Strategies and goals.  Ongoing dialogue through bargaining process of bargaining status.  Inform Council of changes in Union strategies

12  Executive Sessions  Prepare Council for Union Discord and/or Impasse Resolution Process;  Receive Feedback / Address Concerns  Gauge vote – more than just head nodding;  Providing documents – must retrieve them.

13  Executive Sessions  Prepare Council for Questions / Media Interaction;  Deference to Mayor/City Manager in Operational Decisions – Mayor and Manager should be given deference on all non-economic issues.

14  Public Meetings  All Bargaining Sessions Must be “in the Sunshine” – (2) Florida Statutes  Must either take Minutes or Tape the Sessions.  Why?  Defense to ULP of Bad Faith Bargaining;  Use in Arbitrations/ULP for CBA language clarity.

15  Establish Ground Rules  Who will speak at the table?  Responding to questions  Making statements of position  Engaging in arguments  Consider gag order for new members until a  certain number of sessions have been conducted  Caucuses  Length and times of meetings.

16  Formulating Proposals  Who Drafts the Proposals?  Why does it matter?  Concept of “taking ground”  Negotiate non-economic issues first!  Impact of unclear language (Ex. Discourteous and unprofessional conduct)  Creating Issues to effectuate outcome  Framing the negotiations.

17  Bargaining Proposals and Information relating to bargain strategies is confidential and exempt from Chapter F.S. F.S (3): “All work products developed by the public employer in preparation for negotiations and during negotiations shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of Chapter (1).”  Does not remove budget or fiscal information;  Does not remove proposals made at bargaining table;  Does not remove attorney bills for bargaining and negotiations;  Does not remove what you send outside of the bargaining team..

18  Advance Copies  Be Careful with s to Union!  Provide Union Representative:  Chance to evaluate proposals to make session more productive;  Chance for Union Rep to spin proposal to union team;  Opportunity to gauge position and develop counter proposals.

19  Packaging Proposals  Operational vs. Economic – Generally non-controversial issues first;  Permissive Subjects and Waivers – generally packaged with economic proposals.  What Articles should be revised, deleted or included?

20  Packaging Proposals  Reasons to exclude subjects? (i.e., Evaluations, Discipline, Promotions, Hiring Criteria). REMEMBER: Law does not require Public Employer to Agree to anything except Union Dues and Grievance and Arbitration procedure.

21 Parties meet and confer at reasonable times and places (not a set number) Bargaining during working time – Union Leave Proposals are exchanged (not a set number) Tentative agreements reached subject to full and final agreement (TA’s can be dependent). Ideal Outcome: Final contract reached and ratified by Union and County Commission.

22 Pension Reform; 3% Retirement Case Decided – impact on wage increases; Furloughs and Layoffs; Wage Compression among classes (wage increases vs. fixing pay structure); Leave Buy Backs and Caps; Union Stewards; Bifurcation of Arbitrability issues.

23 Take Home Vehicles (Police)– use and cost issues (PERC held is a Mandatory Subject of Bargaining); “Me Too” Clauses with pay and benefits; Outside Employment issues; Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs; Educational Reimbursements; Certification or Senior Officer Pay; Grooming Issues (Ex. Tattoos).

24 Concept: Permits Public Employer to open existing CBA and make changes in the event of a Financial Urgency; Distinguish Financial Emergency under F.S Financial Urgency - F.S Permits: CEO declares to Union. Parties required to meet and bargain over the impact of financial urgency. If no agreement, impasse is deemed. Parties proceed to impasse over financial urgency articles – City Council Implements.

25 When All Else Fails … Strategic and Practical Considerations

26  Timing of declaration and budget  Who declares and why?  Impasse process to resolution  Special Magistrate Hearing.  Number of issues at impasse  Controversial nature of the issue(s).  Executive sessions before impasse.  Insulated period issues after SM Recommendation!  Council resolves impasse and imposes final position!  Impasse concerns between Council and Mayor/City Manager.

27 Thank You! If you have any questions please do not hesitate to me at:


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