Agenda Item 17
December 14,2010
Action
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
D
Impasse
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative
Attorney~/
Action:
Expedited Bill 57-10, Personnel- Collective Bargaining
Procedures
Government Operations Committee recommendation (3-0): enact the Bill with
amendments.
Expedited Bill 57-10, Collective Bargaining Impasse Procedures, sponsored by Council
Vice President Ervin, Council President Floreen, and Councilmembers Andrews, Berliner,
Eirich, Knapp, Navarro, Trachtenberg, and Leventhal, was introduced on November 23,2010. A
public hearing was held on December 7, 2010 followed later that afternoon by a Government
Operations Committee worksession.
Background
Interest arbitration is a method of resolving disputes over the terms and conditions of a
new collective bargaining agreement. Grievance arbitration is a method of resolving disputes
over the interpretation or application of an existing collective bargaining contract. County
Charter §510 requires the Council to enact a collective bargaining law for police officers that
includes interest arbitration. Charter §510A requires the same for fire fighters. Charter §511
authorizes, but does not require, the Council to enact a collective bargaining law for other
County employees that may include interest arbitration or other impasse procedures. All of these
Charter provisions require any collective bargaining law enacted by the Council to prohibit
strikes or work stoppages by County employees. The Council has enacted comprehensive
collective bargaining laws with interest arbitration for police (Chapter 33, Article V), fire
fighters (Chapter 33, Article X), and other County employees (Chapter 33, Article VII).
All 3 County collective bargaining laws require final offer by package arbitration
requiring the arbitrator to select the entire final offer covering all disputed issues submitted by
one of the parties.
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The arbitrator is a private sector labor professional jointly selected by the
Executive and the union. The arbitration award becomes the final agreement between the
Under standard arbitration, the arbitrator is free to create a final package based upon the evidence introduced by
the parties at the hearing, including a compromise between the positions of the parties on each disputed issue. Final
offer by issue arbitration requires the arbitrator to select the final offer of one party on each disputed issue.
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Executive and the union, but economic issues and provisions that would require the enactment of
legislation or the adoption of a regulation remain subject to Council approvaL
There have been 17 impasses with County employee unions resolved by interest
arbitration since 1988. One involved fire fighters, 1 involved general County employees, and the
other 15 involved police officers.
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The arbitrator selected the final offer of the International
Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) in the one impasse with the fire fighters and selected the
County offer in the one impasse with the Municipal and County Government Employees
Organization (MCGEO). The arbitrator selected the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) offer in 11
of the impasses with the police. The arbitrator selected the County offer over the FOP offer 3
times,3 and the County agreed to the FOP offer after the arbitration hearing one time. A chart
describing the issues resolved in each of the 17 arbitrations is at © 11-12. One explanation for
these one-sided results is a lack of public accountability in the interest arbitration system used to
resolve impasses with County unions.
Under current County law, the arbitrator makes an award after considering 6 factors,
including the County's ability to pay as only one of the 6 factors. The law does not require the
arbitrator to place greater weight on anyone of the 6 factors and does not require the arbitrator to
consider all 6 of the factors. For example, an arbitrator is free to value a union's comparison
with higher wages and benefits paid by another public employer greater than the County's
financial ability to match them. Bill 57-10 would require the arbitrator to evaluate and give the
highest priority to the County's ability to pay for economic provisions before considering the
other 5 factors. A copy of Council Vice President Ervin's memorandum explaining the need for
this Bill is at ©10.
Public Hearing
There were 6 witnesses at the public hearing on December 7. Joan Fidler, President of
the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, supported the Bill and the Staff Amendment as a
reasonable modification of the criteria for an arbitrator to use when resolving an impasse. See
©20. Gino Renne, UFCW Local 1994, MCGEO (©21-24), Joslyn Williams, Metropolitan
Washington Council AFL-CIO (©25-26), David Kunes, Peace Action Montgomery (©27),
Elbridge James, NAACP Maryland State Conference (©28-29), and Larry Stafford, Progressive
Maryland (©30-31), each opposed the Bill. The union representatives, Mr. Renne and Mr.
Williams, opposed the Bill as an unnecessary change to the current interest arbitration system
that would reduce the accountability of County elected officials and undermine the collective
bargaining process.
The Council also received written testimony opposing the Bill from Donald Cash,
NAACP Region VII (©32) and Helen Melton, CASA de Maryland (©33).
Arbitrator Richard Bloch, in his 1994 decision, called the unusually frequent arbitration hearings to resolve
impasses with the FOP a "veritable conga line of impasse procedures."
3
The FOP appealed 2 of the 3 decisions in favor of the County to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court reversed a
portion of the arbitrator's award in 2003 and affirmed the arbitrator's award for the County in 2008.
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Worksession
The Government Operations Committee reviewed the Bill at a worksession on December
7 after the public hearing. Stuart Weisberg, OHR, and Ed Lattner, County Attorney's Office,
represented the Executive Branch. The Executive took no position on the Bill. Gino Renne,
MCGEO, John Sparks, IAFF, and Marc Zifcak, FOP, represented the County employee unions.
Joslyn Williams, Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, also provided comments. The
Committee recommended (3-0) approval of the Bill as amended by Staff Amendment 1
Issues
1. Should the criteria for the arbitrator be changed?
The County collective bargaining laws state that the arbitrator
may only
consider:
a.
Past collective bargaining contracts between the parties, including the past
bargaining history that led to such contracts, or the pre·collective
bargaining history of employee wages, hours, benefits and working
conditions;
Comparison of wages, hours, benefits and conditions of employment of
similar employees of other public employers in the Washington
Metropolitan Area and in Maryland;
Comparison of wages, hours, benefits and conditions of employment of
other Montgomery County personnel;
Wages, benefits, hours and other working conditions of similar employees
of private employers in Montgomery County;
The interest and welfare of the public;
The ability of the employer to finance economic adjustments and the
effect of the adjustments upon the normal standard of public services by
the employer.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
The problem with these criteria can be seen in the most recent arbitration awards under
the County collective bargaining laws. For example, Arbitrator David Vaughn described his
understanding of the statutory criteria as follows:
This provision does not require that any particular factor be considered or that all
of them be considered.
It
simply identifies the factors that I
may
consider. Thus,
I am free to determine whether any particular factor or factors weigh more heavily
than others ... (MCGEO Arbitration Decision of March 22,2010)
In the 2010 Police Arbitration Decision, Arbitrator Herbert Fishgold, applying these
criteria, found that the FOP last offer for a 3.5% step increase at a cost of $1.2 million in FYI1
and a reinstated tuition assistance program at a cost of $455,000 was more reasonable than the
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County's offer of no pay increase or tuition assistance.
Mr.
Fishgold reasoned that the FOP had
already given up a previously negotiated 4.5% cost-of-living increase each of the past 2 years
and had, therefore, done enough to help balance the County's budget. The Council subsequently
rejected both of these economic provisions and required all County employees to take furloughs,
including police officers, in order to close an unprecedented budget deficit.
One of the main arguments raised by the employee unions at the public hearing and the
worksession was that the current system is not broken. However, the recently released
comprehensive report from the Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) found that between FY02
and FY 11 personnel costs increased 64% while the total number of workyears increased only
10%. During this same lO-year period, inflation was 29%, the County's population grew 12%,
and median household income increased 21%.4 While the disproportionate rise in the average
cost per employee over the last 10 years cannot be blamed completely on the interest arbitration
system, the 12 arbitration awards in favor of the union out of 16 awards since 1988 has been a
contributing factor. This Bill is not going to resolve the County's structural budget deficit, but
requiring the arbitrator to determine affordability of the final offers before looking at the other
factors is a reasonable and necessary change to the system because of the County's ongoing
structural budget deficit.
The unions also argued that the arbitrator does not need to give the highest priority to
ability to pay since the Council retains the authority to reject an arbitrator's decision on
economic issues. Although the Council rejected the arbitrator's award for the FOP earlier this
year, the collective bargaining process should result in affordable agreements or arbitration
awards being presented to the Council for approval. Arbitration is a last resort to resolve an
impasse in collective bargaining and Council rejection of an arbitration award should not be the
expected norm for the system. The Council has the responsibility to provide guidance to the
arbitrator in the interest arbitration law to help avoid unaffordable arbitration awards. Bil157-10
would do that.
The arbitrator should consider the funds available to pay personnel costs before
considering comparative salaries and past collective bargaining agreements. Committee
recommendation
(3-0):
require the arbitrator to evaluate and give the highest priority to the
County's ability to pay before considering the other factors.
2. Should the Bill be amended to clarify the weight to be given to the ability to pay?
The County Attorney, at the request of the Council Staff Director, provided several
recommendations to clarify the guidance to an arbitrator that would further the purpose of the
Bill in a December 3,2010 memorandum at ©13-16. The County Attorney pointed out that the
Bill would still permit an arbitrator to conclude that the Council could or should raise new or
existing taxes, including overriding the property tax limit in Charter §305. The decision to raise
taxes should be reserved to the elected County Council and not a private labor arbitrator. The
County Attorney recommended amending the Bill to require the arbitrator to first determine the
affordability of both final offers assuming no new or increased taxes before considering the other
factors. Council staff drafted an amendment that would address the points made by the County
A copy of the OLO Report is posted on the Internet at:
http://www .montgomervcountymd.gov/contenticoullciliolo/reports/pdti20 11-2.pdf .
4
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Attorney in Staff Amendment 1 at © 17-19.
Committee recommendation (3-0):
amend the Bill
with Staff Amendment 1.
This packet contains:
Expedited Bill 57-10
Legislative Request Report
Council Vice President Memorandum
Chart of Arbitration Decisions since 1988
County Attorney Memorandum - December 3, 2010
Staff Amendment 1
Public Hearing Testimony
Joan Fidler
Gino Renne
Joslyn Williams
David Kunes
Elbridge James
Larry Stafford
Donald Cash
Helen Melton
Circle
#
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9
10
11
13
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25
27
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Expedited Bill No. _.::::..57:....-....:...:10"'--__::_--­
Concerning: Personnel
Collective
Bargaining - Impasse Procedures
Revised: December 8.2010
DffiftNo.~1.::::..0~
__
__::_-~~~-_
Introduced: _,-"N=ov::..::e=m.=be=.:...,:r2=3::.l,.'=20.:..,1.:...,::0'--_
Expires: _ _M=ay'-'2=3=r-=2.;::..01.:..::2=--_ __
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
-.!..!N~on~e~
_______
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Council Vice President Ervin, Council President Floreen, and Councilmembers Andrews,
Berliner, EIrich, Knapp, Navarro, Trachtenberg, and Leventhal
AN EXPEDITED ACT
to:
(1)
(2)
modifY the criteria for an impasse neutral and a mediator/arbitrator to evaluate
before issuing an arbitration award; and
generally amend County collective bargaining laws.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 33, Personnel and Human Resources
Sections 33-81,33-108, and 33-153
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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EXPEDITED BILL NO.57-10
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Sec. 1. Sections 33-81,33-108, and 33-153 are amended as follows:
33-81.
Impasse procedure.
*
(b)
(1)
*
*
During the course of collective bargaining, either party may
declare an impasse and request the services of the impasse
neutral. If the parties have not reached agreement by January 20,
an impasse [shall be deemed to exist] exists.
*
(5)
*
*
On or before February 1 [or prior thereto], the impasse neutral
[shall] must select, as a whole, the more reasonable, in the
impasse neutral's judgment, of the final offers submitted by the
parties.
(A)
The Impasse neutral [may take into account only the
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following factors] must first [[evaluate and give the highest
priority to]] determine the ability ofthe County to
additional]]
expenditures
considering]
]~
afford
any
by
short-term
the
and
[[~
for
long-term
[[Qy
required
final
offers
ill
[[the limits on the County's ability to raise taxes
under State law and the County Charter]] assuming
no increase in any existing tax rate or the adoption
of any new
tax;
any~
(in
[[the added burden on County taxpayers, if
resulting from increases in revenues needed to fund
~
final offer]] assuming no increase in revenue from
an ad valorem
tax
on real property above the limit in
County Charter Section 305; and
(j)
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EXPEDITED BILL NO.S7-10
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(iii)
considering the County's ability to continue to
provide the current [[standard]] level of all public
servICes.
.ill)
[[After evaluating the ability of the County to
!mY]]
If the
impasse neutral fmds under subparagraph (A) that the
County can afford both final offers, the impasse neutral
[[may only]] must consider:
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the interest and welfare of County taxpayers and
service recipients;
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[a.] (ii) [past] past collective bargaining contracts between
the parties, including the [past] bargaining history
that led to [such contracts, or the pre-collective
bargaining history of employee wages, hours,
benefits and working conditions] each contract;
[b.]
(iii)
[Comparison]
f!
comparison of wages, hours,
benefits.,. and conditions of employment of similar
employees of other public employers m the
Washington Metropolitan Area and in Maryland;
[c·1 (iv) [Comparison]
f!
comparison of wages, hours,
benefits.,. and conditions of employment of other
Montgomery County [personnel] employees; and
[d.]
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ill
[Wages]
conditions
wages, benefits, hours and other working
of similar
employees
of private
employers in Montgomery County[;]
[e.
The interest and welfare of the public;]
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®
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EXPEDITED BILL
NO.57-10
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33-108.
[f.
The ability of the employer to finance economic
adjustments and the effect of the adjustments upon the
normal standard ofpublic services by the employer].
(6)
The impasse neutral [shall] must:
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not compromise or alter the final offer that he or she
selects; [. Selection of]
.an
(!;J
select an offer [shall be] based on the contents of that offer;
[. No consideration shall be given to, nor]
not consider or receive [shall] any evidence or argument
[be received]
concerning the history of collective
bargaining in this immediate dispute, including offers of
settlement not contained in the offers submitted to the
Impasse neutral; and [.
shall]
ill)
However, the impasse neutral
consider all previously agreed [upon] on items integrated
with the specific disputed items to determine the single
most reasonable offer.
*
*
(f)
(1)
*
*
*
*
Bargaining, impasse, and legislative procedures.
If binding arbitration is invoked, the mediator/arbitrator must
require each party to submit a final offer, which must consist
either of a complete draft of a proposed collective bargaining
agreement
or
a
complete
package
proposal,
as
the
mediator/arbitrator directs. If only complete package proposals
are required, the mediator/arbitrator must require the parties to
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ExPEDITED BILL
NO.57-10
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submit jointly a memorandum of all items previously agreed
on.
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*
In
making
*
*
subsection,
the
a determination under this
mediator/arbitrator [may consider only the following factors]
must first [[evaluate and give the highest priority to]] determine
the ability of the County to
[lIillY
for additional]] afford any
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short-term and long-term expenditures required by the final offers
[[Qy
considering]]~
(A)
[[the limits on the County's ability to raise taxes under
State law and the County Charter]] assuming
I1,0
increase
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in any existing tax rate or the adoption of any new tax;
(ill
[[the added burden on County taxpayers, if any, resulting
from increases in revenues needed to fund
~
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final offer]]
assuming no increase in revenue from an ad valorem tax
on real property above the limit in County Charter Section
305; and
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(Q
considering the County's ability to continue to provide the
current [[standard]] level
of
all public services.
~]]
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ill
[[After evaluating the ability of the County to
If the
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mediator/arbitrator finds that under paragraph
ill
the County can
afford both final offers, the mediator/arbitrator [[may only]] must
consider:
(A)
the interest and welfare of County taxpayers and service
recipients;
0-
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EXPEDITED BILL NO.S7-10
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[(A)]
.au
[Past] past collective bargaining agreements between
the parties, including the past bargaining history that led
to [the agreements, or the pre-collective bargaining
history of employee wages, hours, benefits, and working
conditions] each
agreement[.]~
[(B)]
(Q)
[Comparison]
~
comparison of wages, hours, benefits,
and conditions of employment of similar employees of
other public employers in the Washington Metropolitan
Area and in
Maryland[.]~
[(C)]
m.1
[Comparison]
~
comparison of wages, hours, benefits,
and conditions of employment of other Montgomery
County [personnel] employees[.]
~
and
[(D)]
ill}
[Wages] wages, benefits, hours, and other working
conditions of similar employees of private employers in
Montgomery County.
[(E) The interest and welfare of the public.
(F)
The ability of the employer to finance economIC
adjustments, and the effect of the adjustments upon the
normal standard of public services provided by the
employer.]
(Q)
The offer selected by the mediator/arbitrator, integrated with all
previously agreed on items, is the final agreement between the
employer and the certified representative, need not be ratified
by any party, and has the effect of a contract ratified by the
parties under subsection (c).
The parties must execute the
agreement, and any provision which requires action in the
(!)
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ExPEDITED BILL
NO.S7-10
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County budget must be included in the budget which the
employer submits to the County Council.
*
33-153.
*
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Bargaining, impasse, and legislative procedures.
*
(i)
*
On or before February
I,
unless that date is extended by written
agreement of the parties, the impasse neutral must select the final
offer that, as a whole, the impasse neutral judges to be the more
reasonable.
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ill
In determining which fmal offer is the more reasonable, the
impasse neutral [may consider only the following factors] must
first [[evaluate and give the highest priority to]] determine the
ability of the County to
[[M
for additional]] afford any short­
term and long-term expenditures required by the final offers
[[Qy
considering]]..;.
(A)
[[the limits on the County's ability to raise taxes under
State law and the County Charter]] assuming no increase
in any existing tax rate or the adoption of any new tax;
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an
[[the added burden on County taxpayers, if any, resulting
from increases in revenues needed to fund
f!
fmal offer]]
assuming no increase in revenue from an ad valorem tax
on real property above the limit in County Charter Section
305; and
(Q)
considering the County's ability to continue to provide the
current [[standard]] level of all public services.
ill
[[
After
evaluating the ability of the County to
Pf!Y]]
If the
impasse neutral fmds under paragraph
ill
that the County can
(j)
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EXPEDITED BILL NO.S7-10
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afford both final offers, the impasse neutral [[may only]] must
consider:
.cAl
the interest and welfare of County taxpayers and service
recipients;
[(1)] (ID
past collective bargaining agreements between the
parties, including the past bargaining history that led to
[the agreements, or the pre-collective bargaining history
of employee wages, hours, benefits, and working
conditions] each agreement;
[(2)] (g wages, hours, benefits and conditions of employment
of similar employees of other public employers in the
Washington Metropolitan Area and in Maryland;
[(3)] (D) wages, hours, benefits, and conditions of employment
of other Montgomery County employees; and
[(4)]
(ID
wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions
of
similar
employees
of
private
employers
III
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Montgomery County[;
(5) the interest and welfare of the public; and
(6)
the ability of the employer to finance economic adjustments, and
the effect of those adjustments upon the normal standard of
public services provided by the employer].
*
Sec. 2. Effective Date.
*
*
The Council declares that this legislation is necessary for the immediate
protection of the public interest. This Act takes effect on the date on which
it
becomes law.
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Expedited
Bill
57-10
Personnel
-
Collective Bargaining Impasse Procedures
DESCRIPTION:
The Bill would modify the criteria that must be evaluated by the
impasse neutral or mediator/arbitrator before issuing an award
resolving a collective bargaining impasse.
Current law lists 6 factors for the impasse neutral to consider without
giving greater weight to any of them. The County's ability to pay is
not given enough emphasis in these factors.
To clarify that an impasse neutral or mediator/arbitrator should give
the highest priority to the County's ability to pay for economic
provisions in a collective bargaining agreement when issuing an
arbitration award. The goal is to encourage the parties to resolve
impasses through negotiation rather than arbitration.
Office of Human Resources
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Robert H. Drummer, 240-777-7895
Not applicable.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
None.
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(j)
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL
ROCKVILLE .• MARYLAND
VALERIE
ERVIN
COUNCILMEMBER
DISTRICT 5
M.EMORANDlJM
November 19, 2010
TO:
FROM:
Councihnembers
Valerie Ervin, Council"Vice President
Bill to Prioritize Collective Bargaining Impasse Factors
\b
SUBJEC'I":
There are three separate laws that govern the County's collective bargaining with the
unions representing police, firefighters, and general govenlment employees.
AU
resolve an
impasse through arbitration where the atbitrator selects the entire final offer submitted by either
the County or the union.
Under current law, the arbitrator makes an award after considering six factors. These
include: past contracts and bargaining history; the wages, hours, benefits, and conditions of
employment ofother County employees, public employees in the region and the State, and the
County's private sector: and the COlmty's ability to pay for any changes. The current law gives
none of these factors greater weight than any other.
The FYll budget we approved in May, and the
six~year
balanced fiscal plan we
approved in June, are stark reminders of the severe short-term and long-term budget pressures
the County faces. An arbitrator's assessment of final competing offers should
be
grounded in
this reality. I will introduce the attached bill to require an arbitrator to give the highest priority to
the County's ability to pay.
lbe
arbitrator then must evaluate other factors such as the. interest
offid welfare of County taxpayers and service recipients.
As one with more than a quarter century on the front lines ofthe labor movement, I am
deeply committed to fairness for County employees. But fairness also requires that the County
can afford to honor its labor contract'):. It also requires equitable treatment for taxpayers and
service recipients. This bIll will help achieve these goals. I welcome all my colleagues as co­
sponsors.
Attachment
STELLA B. WERNER
OFFICE BUILDING·
(00
MARYLAND
AVENUE,
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND
2.085Q
240/777-7960 OR 240/777-7900 • TTY 240/777-7914 • FAX 240(717-7969
WWW.MONTGOMERYCOUNTYMO.GOVICOUNCiL
;~ PR~NTED
ON
RE:CYC::LEO
PAPER
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Interest Arbitration Decisions Since 1988
#
1
Date
2/19/1988
Union
FOP
2
i
2/2511991
FOP
3
4
2/12/1992
2/1911992
FOP
FOP
i
5
2/2311993
i
FOP
6
1
i
3/2311994
FOP
i
7
8
9
4/2511994
. FOP
2/14/1995
FOP
6/1211998
FOP
Arbitrator Issues
Fishgold
1. Indemnification of County for dues
checkoff.
2. 1 day of leave for occupational stress.
3. County - narrow non-discrimination
clause.
4. FOP - add traffic officers to PPV
program.
5.
FOP
reopener for disability
retirement .
• 6. Differential pay for specialized officers.
7 Clothing allowance
8. Shift differential pay.
9. COLA (5.5% v. 3%1
I
I
Bloch
1. Maintenance of standards provision.
2. Alcohol/drug policy.
3. COLA (6.2% v. 0%)
4. Retirement Incentive Program (RIP)
Kennelly
1.
FOP add 1 additional step
2. COLA (me-too up to 2% v. 0%)
Bloch
1. Furlough procedures.
2. FOP - 4 days of compensatory leave for
furlough.
3. Reduce pay, 32 hours of annual leave to
i
be used in 2 years.
Porter
1. COLA (3% v. 1.5%)
2. FOP - RIP.
3. Increase clothing allowance.
4. Increase pay differential.
I
I
Bloch
1. Health insurance policy.
2. COLA (2.7% v. 2.5%).
3.
Disability leave - donations of sick
leave.
Fasser
1. Eligibility for RIP enacted by Council.
S. Strongin
1.
COLA (2.9% v. 1.5%).
2. Partial SCDR (66
2/3%
v. variable).
Oldham
1. FOP - change disability procedures.
. 2. FOP - County option - DROP.
i
3. FOP - increase COLA for retirees.
4. FOP - increase multiplier for over 65.
5. FOP
increase employee retirement
contnbutlOn.
Award
FOP
County
FOP
i
FOP
FOP
FOP
FOP
FOP
FOP
'
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10
• 2/2612001
iFOP
FOP
S. Strongin
Shamoff
11
2124/2003
12 •
3/19/2004
IIAFF
i
LaRue
13
!
3/15/2007
FOP
Bloch
Bloch
Bloch
i Fishgold
14
11129/2007
FOP
15
5/812008
FOP
16
3/2010
FOP
17
3122/2010
MCGEO Vaughn
iFOP
1. COLA ($2800
+
$600 v. $2500).
2. FOP - shift differential re-opener.
County
I
1.
FOP 1 additional personal leave day.
2. FOP - compressed schedule for special
assignment.
3. FOP - increase PPV for canine officers.
4. COLA (3.5% v. 2%).
5. Selection of attorneys for criminal
offense.
6.< County - single issue arbitration for
changes to directives.
!1.
IAFF
Increase the multiplier for IAFF
calculating pension for integrated plan after
reaching Social Security age.
1. FOP - Police Hearing Board decision to FOP
bind Chief on discipline.
Settled
County agreed to FOP offer.
1. Implementation of mobile video system. CountyL
j
1. FYll service and longevity increments FOp
(3.5% v. 0%).
2. Reinstitute tuition assistance for FYll.
County
1. RIF procedures and limits.
2.
RIP savmgs to reduce RIFs m
bargaining unit.
The FOP appealed decision and Circuit Court held that item 6 was invalid under Police Collective Bargaining Law.
2
The FOP appealed the decision and Circuit Court upheld the arbitrator's decision.
3
The Council rejected the arbitrator's award.
I
2@
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OFFICE OF THE COUNTY ATTORNEY
Isiah Leggett
County Exe(.'Utive
Marc P. Hansen
Acting
CowltyAttorney
MEMORANDUM
TO:
Steve Farber
Council StaffDirector
Marc
P.
Hansen
fnPH
Aqting County Attorney
Edward
B.
Lattner, Chief
Division of Human Resources
&
Appeals
December 3,2010
Bill 51-10E (Personnel - Collective Bargaining
~
hnpaS'sePrQcedures)
VIA:
FROM:
f
PJ:f
DATE:
RE:
You have asked
us
to determine if
Bill
57-1 OE provides sufficicntgUidan(...'C
to
an
arbitrator in light ofits stated goal-requiring the arbitrator to consider, first and foremost,
the
County~s
ability to pay for
a
labor contract in light "of
the severe
short-term and long-term
budget pressures the County faces." You ha.ve also asked us to suggest amendments that would
help the legislation achieve that goal.
Background
All three collective bargaining laws provide that
an
arbitrator
l .
resolves
an,
impasse during
collective bargaining
by
selecting either the union'sor the Executive's final offer covering aU of
the disputed issues. The arbitrator is a private sector labot professional Jointly selected by the
Ex.ec.utive and the union. Bill 57. .1 0 would modify the criteria used by the arbitrator to evaluate
the parties' proposals before issuing an award by reqUiring him or her to give highest priority to
th.e County's
ability
to pay when deciding between the union's and the Executive's
final
offers.
Council
Vice
President Ervin's November
19,
20
I 0,
memorandum makes cleat that
the bill is
designed
to
ensure that the arbitrator's assessment of final competing offers is grounded in
the
reality "of the severe short-term and long·term budget pressures the
County races."
Mr. Drummer's November 23,
201O~memorandum
to the Council cofte.ctJy states the
I
The
FOP
and
IAFF collective bargaining laws
refer
to an.limpasse
neutral" while the MCGEO law
refers
to a
"mediatoriarbitrator.'·
By whatever designation, the person's
role
is the same.
101 Monroe S!l'C<..>t. Rockville,
Maryland 208so·2580
(24Q} 777·6735. TTD (240) 777-2545. FAX (240) 777·6705 •
Edward.Lattncr~
mOlltgomcrycountymd.g<w
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Steve
f'
arber
December 3, 2010
Page
2
present state ofthc law and the effect of the proposed amendment.
Under current law, the arbitrator
makes
an award after considering
6
factors,
including the County's ability to pay
as
only one of the
6
factors. The law does
not require the arbitrator to place greater weight on anyone of the
6
factors and
does not require the arbitrator to consider all 6 of the factors. Forexample,an
arbitrator is free to value a union's comparison with higher wages and benefits
paid by another public employer greater than the County's financial ability to
match them, Bill 57-10. would require the arbitrator to evaluate and give the
highest priority to the County's ability to pay for economic provisions hefore
considering the other
5
factors.
The Bill
Bill
57-1 OE combines two of the
six
factors currently considered by the arbitrator
«
1) the
interest and. welfare of the public and
(2)
the ability of the employer to tinanceeconomic
adjustments and the effect of the adjustments upon the nonnal standard of public scrvicesby the
employer) into thc.tollowing predominant factor:
The. impasse neutral must first evaluate and give the highest priority
to
the ability
of the County to pay tor additional short-tenn and long-teI11l expenditures by
considering:
the limits on the County's ability to raise
taxes
under State
law
and the
(i)
County
Charter;
(ii)
the added burden on County taxpayers, if any, resultingfrom increases in
revenues needed to fund afinaT offer; and
(iii)
the County's ability to continue to provide
the current
standard of all
public services.
While
this language
is
legally sufficient, alternative language would strengthen
the bill's
stated goal of requiring the arbitrator to consider, first and foremost, the County's ahility to pay
for a labor contract
in
light
"of
the severe short-tenn and long-term budget pressures the County
faces."
Firsl, as a
standard to be applied hythe arbitrator. "the
limits on
the County's ability to
raise
taxes
under State law and
the
County Charter"
is
somewhat mercurial. While State law does
impose an absolute cap on the Courtty's ability to tax residents' income,and the County Charter
requires that all nine Council members approve certain incteasesin thepIoperty tax, the County
enjoys extraordinarily broad authority
to
impose other taxes \lnder§
52-17
oEthe County Code;
In
construing the scope of
§
52-17, the Court of Appeals has held that ifthe State had the power
to impose a
~
the County has the same power.
Waters Landing
Limite.d
Partnership
v.
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Steve Farber
December 3,2010
Page 3
Montgomery County,
337 Md. 15.
25~
650 A.2d 712
(1994).2
Presently, County
taxes
include
fuel energy, carbon emissions, cell phone usage, and hotel/motel usage. The language in the bill
leaves ample room for the arbitrator to conclude that the Council could or should increase those
taxes (or impose new taxes).
TI1e
language in the hill also penuits the arbitrator. to conclude that
all nine Council members could or should increase the property tax beyond the Charter-imposed
tax limitation. Accordingly, we recommend that this provision be amended to require that the
arbitrator evaluate the County'S ability to pay for short-term and long-term expenditures by
assuming no increase in the then-current tax rates. The setting of tax rates should be the
exclusive province of the County's elected
officials,
not a private sector labor professionaL
Second. although the bill is borne of the currentfiscaI shortfall,
it
could have the effect of
requiring the arbitrator
to
select a proposal requiring significant spending increases
in
times of
fiscal largess because consideration of "the ability ofthe County
to
pay" is not limited to fallow
economic times. Thus,
if
and when (hopefully when) the County's coffers are full, consideration
or"the ability of the County to pay" would militate in favor of the proposal calling for a
corresponding increase in spenrlingon a labor contract.lfthe purpose ufthe bill is to require the
arbitrator to consider the County's ability to pay when times are tough, then the bill should
provide some objective trigger for mandatory considenltion of that factor (e.• g., this factor applies
only when revenues drop by
X%).
Third, the bill requires the arbitrator to consider the County's ability to pay "for
additional
short-tenu. and long-term expenditures"
(emphasi~
added). Presumably," consideration
oftheCounty's fiscal health is therefore limited to those final offetsthat propose expenditures
above and beyond those previously provided to bargaining unit members.) Thus. the arbitrator
would not consider the County's fiscal health at all if the union's proposal held costs constant
and the Executive's proposal reduced those costs. If the purpose ofthis.billis to make
affordabiHty the arbitrator's predominant factor. then it should not be limited to those proposals
that would increase spending;
it
should be the predominant factor in reviewiIlg every proposaL
The word "additional" should be stricken.
it
does not preclude an
arbitrator from determining that the other factorsovercom.c'tIiat predominance. We suggest an
amendment that would limit the arbitrator's ability to consider the other factors to situations
where the arbitrator finds that both proposals are affordable.
chi
Finany~
although the bill gives predominance to affordability,
!
Some items are beyond the County's
taxing
power (e.g., al.coholic beverages, ga-'\(lline).
It
is unclear whether this would. be limited
(0
expenditures
pr{l'llided
for in the prior
labor
agreement ot
expenditures actually
authorized
by
the
Council in
the
most recent annual nperating
budget.
J
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Steve Farber
December 3. 2010
Page 4
cc:
Kathleen Boucher,
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Joseph Adler. Director. OHR
Stuart Weisberg, Office of Human Resources
Robert
H.
Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
AI 0-02083
M:\Cycom\Wpdocs\DOO !;f{)I0\()() 172364, DOC
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Staff Amendment 1
Amend lines
13-25
as follows:
.cAl
The impasse neutral [may take into account only the following
factors] must first [[evaluate and give the highest priority to))
determine the ability of the County to
[~
for additional)) afford
any short-term and long-term expenditures required by the final
offers
[fuy
considering]]~
ill
[[the limits on the County's ability to raise taxes under State
law and the County Charter)) assuming no increase in any
existing tax rate or the adoption of any new tax;
(ill
[[the added burden on County taxpayers,
any, resulting
from increases in revenues needed to fund
!!
[mal offer]]
assuming no increase in revenue from an ad valorem tax on
real propertY above the limit in County Charter Section 305;
and
(iii)
considering the County's ability to continue to provide the
current [[standard]] level of all public services.
ill)
[[After evaluating the ability of the County to
p!!y]]
If
the impasse
neutral finds under subparagraph
.cAl
:that the County
CI:Ul
afford both
final offers, the impasse neutral [[may onlyl] must consider:
Amend lines
73-86
as follows:
. ffi
In
making
!!
determination under this subsection, the mediator/arbitrator
[may consider only the following factors] must first [[evaluate and give the
highest priority to]] determine the ability of the County to
[[p!!y
for
additional]] afford any short-term and long-term expenditures required by
the final offers
[fuy
considering]]~
@
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(A)
[[the limits on the County's ability to raise taxes under State law and
the County Charter]] assuming no increase in
any
existing tax rate or
the adoption of any new tax;
lID
[[the added burden on County taxpayers,
increases in revenues needed to fund
~
if
any, resulting from
final offer]] assuming no
increase in revenue from an ad valorem
tax
on real propertv above
the limit in Countv Charter Section 305; and
(Q
considering the County's ability to continue to provide the current
[[standard]] level of all public services.
ill
[[After evaluating the ability of the County to 00]] If the mediator/arbitrator
finds that under paragraph
ill
the
County can afford both final offers, the
mediator/arbitrator [[may only]] must consider:
Amend lines
124-137
asfollows:
ill
In determining which final offer is the more reasonable, the impasse neutral
[may consider only the following factors] must first [[evaluate and give the
highest priority to]] determine the ability of the County to [[00 for
additional]] afford any short-term and long-term expenditures required by
the
final offers
[[Qy
considering]]~
(A)
[[the limits on the County's ability to raise taxes under State law and
the Countv Charter]] assuming no increase in any existing tax rate or
the adoptign of any new tax;
lID
[[the added burden on County taxpayers,
increases in revenues needed to fund
~
if
any, resulting from
final offer]] asslllIling no
increase in revenue from an ad valorem tax on real property above
the limit in County Charter Section 305; and
(Q
considering the County's ability to continue to provide the current
[[standard]] level of all public services.
2
@
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ill
[[After evaluating the ability of the County to 00]] If the impasse neutral
finds under paragraph
ill
that the County can afford both final offers, the
impasse neutral [[may only]] must consider:
3
@
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/
Testimony before the County Council
on Expedited Bill 57-10, Personnel- Collective Bargaining -Impasse Procedures
December 7,2010
- Joan Fidler
Madam President and members of the Council, thank you for this opportunity to speak
in strong support of Expedited Bill 57-10, Personnel- Collective Bargaining - Impasse
Procedures and more particularly the staff amendment to the bill. I am Joan Fidler,
president of the Montgomery County Taxpayers League and while I am here to speak
for the taxpayers of the county I am also here to commend the Council for not only
facing fiscal reality but also having the courage to do something about it. Particularly
courageous is President Ervin who has been on the front lines of the labor movement
and has placed herself in harm's way on behalf of working people, at least as much, if
not more so, than anyone else in this room.
So why does the Taxpayers League support this bill? The bill provides guidance to the
arbitrator who heretofore, we taxpayers are astounded to learn, did not have to be
governed by the county's ability to pay. The arbitrator could pick and choose from 6
factors, no one more important than another, to arrive at unaffordable compensation
decisions. The legacy costs of past arbitrator decisions have now brought the county to
a virtual fiscal standstill. The present is bleak and the future not much brighter.
This bill modifies the criteria that
must
be evaluated by the arbitrator before issuing an
award. This bill, and more particularly the amendment to the bill, which we endorse for
its logic and its clarity, gives primacy to the county's ability to pay. It provides clear
guidance to the arbitrator who must now 'first evaluate and give the highest priority to
the county's ability to "afford any short-term and long-term expenditures required by the
final offers". The final offer can assume no increase in existing tax rates, no increase
in property taxes (assuming the County will respect the Charter limit on property tax
revenue), and must consider the County's ability to continue to provide the current level
of all public services.
All county residents value the work of our dedicated employees and the need to provide
them appropriate compensation, but it is not fair to county employees to enter into labor
agreements that cannot be honored in future years. For contracts to be honored, they
must be affordable. This bill will help the county and the unions to reach agreement on
contracts that will realistically meet the needs of employees, the taxpayers and 1 million
county residents.
We have a deep structural budget deficit. So do many counties and states across the
country. So let's get real. We need this bill.
Thank you.
@
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TESTIMONY BY:
PRESIDENT GINO RENNE, UFCW LOCAL 1994 MCGEO
ON BEHALF OF
PROTECT YOUR MONTGOMERY COALITION
IN OPPOSITION TO
COUNCIL BILL #57-10
BEFORE THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7,2010
This measure 57-10 is an anathema to open government. It is an enemy of
transparency and it is an escape hatch to enable elected leaders-Council Members
or the County Executive-to evade their respective roles in the collective bargaining
process.
Perhaps that is not the intent of the sponsor, but that could be the outcome. We
want to believe Ms Ervin when she claims to be a friend oflabor. However, friends
don't let friends drive off the road. Friends will warn friends that it is
ill
advised to
try to build your future ambitions on fawning editorial comments from Washington
Post Friends will
r~mind
friends that the Washington Post is a fickle mistress, and
that the Post's political preferences don't often persuade Montgomery County's
voters. Look at the Post's own sorry history of labor-management relations.
The Washington Post's editorials are mere opinions. We all know what they say
about opinions. No editorial can alter the fact that no arbitrator has eyer
appropriated a single dime in this county.
Every year, council staff prepares a memo stating that"The Council is not bound by
the agreement on those matters [including appropriation of funds] over which the
Council has final approval."*
*Memorandum to Council MFP Committee from Michael Faden and Robert H. Drummer, April 20. 2009,
Simply put, under current law, an arbitration award is subject to County Council
funding. As a senior council attorney said, "Under each collective bargaining law,
wage decisions during each contract are made as part of each year's operating
budget."*
*Memorandum from Michael Faden. Senior Legislative
Attorney
to the MFP Committee. April 28. 2003.
Procedurally, a contract or arbitration award is no different than any other
recommendation in the County Executive's recommended budget*
·"(TIhe collective bargaining law clearly recognizes the council's primacy in fiscal matters...
[d,
The current law also recognizes that the Council has more information available to it
in May than can be presented to an arbitrator in January. Indeed, the Executive's
recommended budget is not presented to Council until March 15, yet this bill expects
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a labor arbitrator to have a crystal ball to see months or years into the future. That is
a distortion of the process.
County residents have to be asking, "If it ain't broke, why fix
itT'
The fact is that for
two consecutive years, county government, police and fire employees have
voluntarily given up pay increases that were previously negotiated, and it didn't
require arbitration. The current system has fostered labor peace, cooperation and
continuity for more than a quarter of a century. Another example: In 1991, an
arbitrator awarded police officers Zero percent and the FOP and rank and file police
officers respected that outcome because we knew we had confidence in the process.
The union had been given a fair opportunity to make our case. This bill will change
that.
Reviewing the exchange of memoranda between the sponsor and Council legal staff
indicates how far this measure can go to damage bargaining. Clearly, the legal staff
would prefer a process that would instruct an arbitrator to render determinations
that reduce the final cost of a settlement-regardless of the merits of submissions
by the parties.
J
What you are suggesting is not arbitration and it is not consistent with collective
bargaining. The legal staffs suggestions would stack the deck in arbitration and
attempt to tie the hands of the arbitrator to guarantee a favorable outcome for the
county. Certainly, a system like that would encourage the executive to declare an
. Impasse just to pass the buck to an arbitrator.
The staffs background table ofinterest arbitration decisions since 1988 implies that
arbitration has been a boon for the unions and a bane for management But, that
summary doesn't prove anything about the effectiveness of the law. It could just as
easily reflect the fact that the county wasn't as well prepared to present its case as
were the unions; or that the unions had a better case; or that the union positions
were more reasonable. For instance, the 2001 highlighted case in that table involved
an issue where the cost of each position was the same, but the parties disagreed on
whether additional pay should go to the bottom or the top of the pay scale. To say
that management "lost" more often than the unions because the rules aren't fair is
like suggesting that baseball isn't fair because the Yankees get to the World Series
more often than the Orioles.
Historically, the County Council has not sought to increase payor benefits beyond
what has been negotiated, but it has consistently held to
its
authority to decrease
settlements. So,·tilting the playing field even further in favor of management would
simply hand the executive another opportunity to bargain to impasse rather than
seek settlements.
And, if fiscal restraint is the objective, consider, too, that more than $6.5 million of
the county's payroll (that's just the currenttotal cost oftop executive level
management salaries) is out of the reach of collective bargaining and arbitration.
*
@
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*(Representative list of top executive
level
management
~a!aries
is
attached.) .
While it may be popular to demonize hard working public employees and their
bargaining process, we don't believe that Montgomery County should buy into that
fiction or feed that prejudice by undermining collective bargaining for its
workforce.*
*See 'Public Employees: The 21
st
Century's Welfare Queens." Pittsbur!i'h Post-Gazette. November
14.2010.
After 30 years of persistent attacks on the labor movement, the right wing in
America has hammered down private sector union representation to some 7
percent of the workforce. Now, they are turning on public workers where they
recognize they can score points in the media by pandering to fear and resentment.
Teachers, bus drivers, librarians, police officers, fire fighters-we haveall become
targets of opportunity, Those attacks are unconscionable, but even worse, it's'
appalling when those same sentiments are echoed by some of our so-called friends
who call themselves progressive Democrats. There is precious little difference
between the attitude expressed by
conservativ~
Republican Governor Mitch Daniels
in Indiana, who describes public workers as "the new privileged class," and this
proposal from Council Member Valerie Irvin.
People are aware of the service unions perform for our members-as advocates and
representatives, as their voice on the job. We also perform a significant public
service as watchdogs and knowledgeable stakeholders in the process of open
government. That latter function makes us more dangerous in the eyes of politicians
than the former and sometimes spurs elected officials to search for ways to reduce
our presence.
By tradition and history, labor is more closely associated to the Democratic Party
than we are to the Republicans. The Democratic Party openly embraces our core .
values while Republican platforms typically align with big business and privilege.
Our members are much more diverse-ranging from extremely progressive to
extremely conservative. Our experience, however, tells us that, once elected,
politicians sometimes abandon the principles and values that defined them as
candidates in favor of getting re-elected. .
That, we believe, is the case for this bill. The Democratic Party embraces collective
bargaining as a core value. Republicans reject it. How, then, can a Council Member
describe him or herself as a Democrat, then advance a measure to undermine
collective bargaining? And, what will be the next step? Repeal collective bargaining?
Impose an "employment at will" regime?
Current law works well. Over 25 years, there has never been a problem.
$0,
what's
changed?
Even when we "win" Labor does not see arbitration as a victory. It certainly is not a
goal when we begin negotiations. Arbitration is a less desirable, but acceptable
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alternative to reaching a formal agreement, binding each party to certain norms of
behavior in a legal contract. Arbitration, like a strike, indicates a failure of the.
collective bargaining system.
It
is an option that hands over the ultimate decision
about the future to a third party and regardless of track records, the outcome is
never guaranteed. Arbitration is a concession that both labor and management
make in the interest of continuity of essential public service. We don't wish to see it
weakened.
In summary: The Protect your Montgomery Coalition-composed of the Fraternal
Order of Police Lodge 35, the International Association ofFire Fighters Local 1664
, and DFCW Local 1994, MCGEO-opposes this bill because it is unnecessary, it·
weakens accountability and transparency in the operations of the County Council
and the County Executive, it seeks to undermine the collective bargaining process
and it addresses a phantom problem with a non-solution.
Thank you for your time.
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Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO
Testimony of Joslyn N. Williams
President, Metropolitan Washington Council
Before the Montgomery County Council on Bill 57-10
Thank you for the opportunity to express the views of the Metropolitan Washington
Council AFL-CIO. The Council's nearly 200 affiliated unions represent hundreds of
thousands of workers in the Washington Metropolitan area-thousands of them residents
of Montgomery County.
It's been said every problem we confront today started out somewhere in the distant past
as a solution. That's the case with Bill 57-10, which seems to be a solution for a problem
that simply does not exist. Collective bargaining with interest and impasse arbitration has
worked well for more than 25 years. I am unaware of any recurrent complaints from labor
or management about its failure and I would challenge the sponsor of this legislation to
cite any examples where it has fallen short of providing equitable outcomes for all parties
We oppose this legislation because it would remove the county council and the county
executive one step further from the collective bargaining process. Transparency and
accountability are the gold standard for democratic government. How does ceding the
authority and responsibility of elected officials comport with those goals?
We must also ask how residents, voters and even employees would be better off when
crucial decisions regarding the affordability of a collective bargaining agreement fall to
an un-elected arbitrator? Who should know better how much the county can afford than
the executive and his deputies who are part of the negotiation process? And, shame on an
elected county council-whose highest responsibility is to monitor the public coffers-if
they can't do the arithmetic before they vote on the terms of a negotiated agreement.
So we must ask the question: Is there another agenda on the part of the proponents of this
measure? Might this be, in fact, nothing more than a blatant and heavy-handed attempt to
curry favor in the press by picking a fight with labor? If so, double shame on you.
It's been my privilege to serve as president of the Labor Council for nearly 30 years. I
was privileged to work with some of the county's earliest elected leaders in the
development of your labor relations laws in the 1970s, from a total absence of union
representation to meet and confer, to your current mature and-judging from experience
and results-highly evolved and effective collective bargaining law.
888 16
th
St NW, Suite 520, Washington DC 20006 202-974-8150
www.dclabor.org
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Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO
Although circumstances and conditions over those years have changed, the collective
bargaining process has enabled management and the county's unions to adapt effectively
to those changes.
The current dark economic situation has been painful for all, but your workers-the
police officers, fire fighters, general government workers, teachers and board of
education personnel-have suffered that pain as deeply as anyone. They endured job
cuts, furloughs and very austere contracts over the past two years. They are
accomplishing their tasks with fewer people and resources even as demand for public
services grows in worsening times.
Cutting workers, wages and benefits may seem at first glance like an easy budgetary fix
that plays well to a solution-hungry media and public, but this kind of simplistic
pandering is no substitute for thoughtful leadership and longer-term real solutions.
For example, the problem we face includes both the growth of personnel costs and the
shrinkage of revenues. So why has the council chosen to only address the issue from the
cost side of the balance sheet?
The County's population continues to grow. The needs of your residents for
transportation, health services, public safety and education will only increase in hard
times.
It
is incumbent on leaders like yourselves to face hard facts and re-examine the
landscape for additional revenue sources.
Collective bargaining is the cornerstone of U.S. labor relations in both the public and
private sectors. It has served our nation well for over 80 years. Any tinkering that
undermines the collective bargaining process simply serves the purpose of those who
want to eliminate unions altogether. We would hope that no one on this council harbors
those inclinations.
In summary: We oppose this legislation because it addresses a nonexistent problem, it
erodes accountability and transparency in government, it adds no value for residents and
taxpayers and it feeds the anti-union forces who want to see collective bargaining
destroyed. Most importantly, it wastes the precious time and resources of this body while
there is a growing need for leadership and innovation to seek out long-term economic
solutions for providing the fundamental governmental services that residents want, need
and deserve.
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88816
th
St NW, Suite 520, Washington DC 20006 202-974-8150
www.dclabor.org
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Peace Action Montgomery County
Testimony of David L. Kunes
Member, Peace Action Montgomery County
Before the Montgomery County Council on Bill 57-10
I would like to thank the Council for considering our viewpoint on this important issue.
Peace Action Montgomery County is a local activist group with over 2,000 members in
the area. We believe that the issues raised by Council Bill 57-10 are symptomatic of a
national failure to address the actual needs of our communities.
It
is clear to us that county workers are being singled out as the cause of this current
budget crisis, when this is not the case.
It
is even more clear that there is a misallocation
of our community'S resources when significantly more of our monies are spent on
militarism and corporate welfare, than on transportation, health services, public safety
and education. These vital services are needed now more than ever, but are always the
first to be cut.
Our federally elected officials consistently fail to prioritize the everyday workers who are
the backbone of our community, in favor of the corporate interests outside of it. Unfairly,
it is often left to our County officials to correct these imbalances as best they can.
Unfortunately, Council Bill 57-10 will not correct these imbalances, but only magnify
them. If it is passed, it will mark the first assault against the collective bargaining rights
of county workers, and another blow to a constituency that has been hit especially hard
these last few years. Firefighters and police have already had to sacrifice their safety for
our budget. Fighting to secure a county with a growing population, but shrinking
resources. General government workers, teachers and others have hurt too, enduring job
cuts, furloughs, salary freezes and more.
By weakening their collective bargaining rights, you will further disenfranchise the very
workers the County must rely on the most to get us through these difficult and uncertain
times. Especially now, government workers should be viewed as the foundation for a
.
happy and productive society, which they are, not as a liability.
Furthermore, as residents of Montgomery County, we expect our elected officials to lead,
not to pass off the responsibility of their decisions to third parties. Good governance
demands that the County Council and the Count'j Executive work more closely with the
representatives of County workers, and recognize the vital role they play in overcoming
our present challenges.
Therefore, we urge the County Council to reject Council bill 57-10 and to protect one of
our most important resources, our workers. Lastly, we would urge the Council to continue
to lobby state and federal representatives on behalf of our community to better use their
funds to address its actual needs: living wages, peace, education and sustainability.
Sincerely,
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David
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Kunes
Peace Action Montgomery County
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NAACP Maryland State Conference
P.O". Box 67747
Baltimore, Maryland 21215
OPPOSITION TO
MONTGO~IERY
COUNTY COUNCIL BILL 57-10
December 7, 2010
The Honorable Nancy Floreen
President, Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Ave #6
Rockville, MD 20850-2367
Dear Council President Floreen,
I am writing, on behalf of <;Jerald Stansbury, President of the Maryland State NAACP
and its Executive Committee, to express opposition to Montgomery County Council Bill
57-10. The measure before you asks that fairly negotiated agreements, which have
provided county residents the best workforce in the county, be voided for the uncertainty
and dissatisfaction that the proposed legislation will produce.
In specification, we have strong opposition to language in this legislation that authorizes/
requires an arbitrator
must give highest priority to ability ofthe County to pay for short
and long-term expenditures.
In specific, these are negotiated wages and benefits; that
were reached in good faith by representatives of labor and management. We, as citizens,
elect the County Executive and each member of the County Council because we citizens
believe that part of your responsibility to us maintaining good faith relationships with our
employees through their representatives. This measure destroys that belief.
In addition, this specification prohibits the arbitrator from having access to and review
and/or analysis of actions ofthe executive and legislative bodies that shaped the budget
or the budget development process; a process that, in if manipulated, could result in undo
and unreasonable pressure on the county's ability to fulfill its negotiated labor
agreements. Enactment of this legislation would proclaim to the public that employees
and citizens alike have no standing before this body in regard to the governance of
employment and the quality of life in this county.
The Maryland State NAACP also believes this measure, in its application, allows for an
uneven and discriminatory treatment of employees or a classification of employees.
Across the country the NAACP is seeing the erosion of employee rights and protections
by legislative actions of elected officials who were reacting to the cries of a select (and
wealthy) few who want to avoid tax fairness and demand unrealistic budget cuts. Such
actions usually result in draconian measures against state, county, and/or municipal
employees, and lead to further decline in public services and trust.
By enactment into law, you are permanently changing the face of the County government
and how it serves its residents. The NAACP understands the fiscal constraints elected
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officials are facing; we, however, believe that implementation of Bill 57-lOis not
in
the
best long-tern interest of the County or its citizens.
Respectfully,
Elbndge G. J7m:s
Chair, Political Actio
301-213-9657
elbridgej@gmail.com
?/Y:,
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Progressive Maryland
Testimony on Montgomery County Council Bill 57-10
We appreciate the opportunity to testify.
Progressive Maryland is a grass roots non-profit organization drawing from
educational, religious, labor and civic activists in the state of Maryland with a
mission to improve the lives of working families in the state.
Progressive Maryland opposes Council Bill 57-10 because it establishes a dangerous
precedent for changing the rules of collective bargaining for county employees
whenever the County Executive or County Council perceives that it would be
politically expedient to do so. Moreover, we are concerned any time that the process
of collective bargaining is diminished the parity that the practice establishes
between labor and management is undermined and the public's interests are
compromised.
Collective bargaining is a publicly valuable institution that should be cultivated and
expanded. Unfortunately, it has been attacked and disparaged in the private sector
where the law has not kept up with changing conditions. Organizing new units in the
private sector has been stymied by archaic interpretations of the law and aggressive
attacks on the part of employers: abuses such as firings of workers who support
organizing drives and weak penalties for violations of employee rights. As a
consequence, real wages and real incomes have been falling for all workers-and
our communities are poorer for it.
When union representation declines, benefits and wages shrink as well. So, if its
cheaper government you want-busting the unions is one way to get there, but not
the right way.
For elected officials who worry that they will be perceived as "soft" on unions if they
support workers rights, consider the facts: union workers on average enjoy better
benefits and working conditions because they are unionized. Supporting union
rights for all workers sends the message that the right to decent wages and good
jobs is universal-irrespective of who the employer is.
We wonder what specific event or events have sparked this new initiative.
Reviewing the 25-year history of collective bargaining in Montgomery County, one
must conclude that the process has worked relatively well. Montgomery County
enjoys one of the most effective, efficient and productive government workforces in
the region and the first priority of political leaders should be to sustain that quality.
In public sector collective bargaining, unions have historically ceded the right to
strike in favor of the arbitration/mediation option in order to resolve problems that
the parties find intractable on their own. Often, these issues involve deal with the
apportionment of costs, not the costs themselves. Focusing exclUSively on the
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affordability of a matter in dispute reflects a grave misunderstanding of the process
and erects another fortress for protecting management rights and prerogatives, not
solving workplace problems.
Most importantly, we believe that the veiled purpose behind this proposal is to
garner recognition and praise in the media and that is a poor excuse for any major
change in public policy, especially in areas so significant and sensitive to the public
interest.
#
#
#
®
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National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
4301 Garden City Drive' Landover, MD 20785
December 6, 20 10
Collective bargaining has proven to be a great leveler in the American workplace.
It
is under
serious attack from big business and conservative forces for exactly that reason. Our organization
is gravely
concem~d
over the general trend toward disparity in wealth in the nation and within
our communities.
Economists tell us that the last time in our nation's history that the nation's wealth was
controlled by such a small handful of powerful individuals while the vast majority of Americans
were experiencing falling income levels and declining quality of life was in 1929, on the eve of
the Great Depression.
Our analysis of Council Bi1157-10 shows that it will encourage both the County Executive and
the County Council to shirk their responsibility for planning, managing and effectively
negotiating with the unions representing the County's workforce. This bill would encourage
them to seek impasse, not agreement. This runs counter to our belief that elected officials must
be accountable to citizens and taxpayers, not merely for budgetary decisions, but also for policies
that impact on the quality of life of County residents.
We view any dilution of the free and unfettered exercise of collective bargaining to be a threat to
minorities and the poor and therefore we oppose this bill.
Furthermore, the Maryland NAACP encourages the County Council and the County Executive to
recognize the dire circumstances that
no~confront
our County. We urge you to make
extraordinary efforts to improve your relationships with the representatives of County workers to
give them a genuine role in putting the County's fiscal house in order.
These are the men and women who have an intimate knowledge of the processes of our
government. They are invaluable to improving efficiency and performance, but only as long as
they understand that they viewed as genuine partners and vital stakeholders. You undermine that
objective if you weaken the collective bargaining process.
Sincerely,
Donald
L.
Cash
Chainnan
NAACP, Region VII
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CA~A
Testimony before the Montgomery County Council
In opposition to Expedited Bill 57-10
Personnel- Collective Bargaining -Impasse Procedures
December 7,2010
President Floreen and members of the County Council:
Good afternoon. My name is Helen Melton. I am the Advocacy Specialist for CASA de
Maryland, which is the state's largest immigrant advocacy organization. I'm here today in
opposition to County Bill 57-10, which changes an arbitrator's obligations and
responsibilities for evaluating union and management positions during interest
arbitration.
As the law currently stands, it allows arbitrators to evaluate many different factors in
order to get to a fair and comprehensive decision at the time of deciding a final offer. Any
changes to this law would clearly cloud an arbitrator's judgment on the any final offer, as
this bills seeks to only give priority to a factor that's based on the effect that it would
have on the effect the final offer would have on the county's budget, instead of a broad
spectrum of issues, such as the condition of employment of similar employers in the
Metro region, or past collective bargaining history of each contract, etc.
It is deeply disappointing to see this bill being introduced as part of the solution for the
economic downtown that has grappled many other jurisdictions, while not taking into
consideration the hard work and incredible service our unionize employees provide to
make this county the great place we all want to live in.
As many of you know, CASA de Maryland is an organization that strives to provide
services, not only to the immigrant community, but we also make every effort to
represent the residents in our community that are unfairly targeted by unscrupulous
employers, organizations and/or the government. That's why I'm here today; to support
our brothers and sisters in the labor community against an unreasonable bill that unfairly
targets the men and women thatare providing essential county services to our
community. This is not the right bill to solve the economic crisis of the County. I urge you
to vote against bill.
Helen Melton
Advocacy Specialist
CASA de Maryland
DE MARYLAN
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