March 10, 2008
QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES TO THE STATE BOARD OF LABOR RELATIONS
By: John Moran, Principal Analyst
STRUCTURE AND DUTIES
● The board consists of three members who serve six-year terms. The board appoints staff, including the agent, who is the board's representative and administrator, and a legal counsel. The board interprets and administers four employee collective bargaining laws: (1) the Municipal Employee Relations Act (MERA), (2) the State Employee Relations Act (SERA), (3) the Teacher Negotiation Act (TNA), and (4) the State Labor Relations Act (SLRA). It can investigate complaints and grievances, hold hearings, and issue decisions. It can also promulgate regulations, decide the scope of bargaining issues, and issue declaratory rulings. Hearings are conducted by a panel of three, although board regulations allow for two members to constitute a quorum.
● The governor appoints.
● Both houses confirm.
1. Has the board's caseload been increasing or decreasing over the past several years? What do you believe accounts for any trends?
2. Have any cases before the board been open for more than a year? Why have these cases not been resolved?
3. Are there any recent court decisions for cases in which the board participated where you feel the result requires a legislative remedy?
4. Most cases are settled without formal board hearings. How does the “informal” settlement procedure operate?
5. How does the board currently meet public requests for information? Is a knowledgeable individual available for the public to speak with during business hours in a manner similar to the staff at the National Labor Relations Board?
6. Situations occur where a grievance under a collective bargaining agreement could be heard by the State Labor Relations Board or the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration. How often does this situation arise? Do the two boards work well together to establish which board will hear the case first? What criteria are used to determine which board will hear the case first?
7. The board is responsible for determining the certified bargaining agent. How often do issues of units changing from one international organization to another occur?