May 9, 2011
QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES TO THE CONNECTICUT 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, administrator, and 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 two members constitute a quorum.
● The governor appoints.
● Both houses confirm.
1. As a new member to the board, do you have particular goals for your first term? Should the board set goals, just respond to the complaints and cases that come before it, or can it do both?
2. Why do you believe you are qualified to serve as a member of the board? Do you have knowledge and experience with either public sector or private sector collective bargaining laws?
3. For many of the state's boards and commissions, statutes require all nominees to have certain minimum requirements. The statute establishing the State Board of Labor Relations does not have such a requirement. Do you think it should and what should the requirement be?
4. Most cases are settled without formal board hearings. Are you familiar with how the “informal” settlement procedure operates? Are there advantages or disadvantages of handling cases this way?
5. Are there any recent court decisions involving the board in which you feel the result requires a legislative remedy?
6. How does the board currently meet public requests for information? Is a knowledgeable individual available for the public to speak with during business hours similar to the staff at the National Labor Relations Board?
7. 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?
8. The board is responsible for determining the certified bargaining agent for a designated bargaining unit of employees. Under what grounds can part of a bargaining unit break off to form an independent unit or join another union? Are you familiar with how these kinds of decisions are made?