Agenda Item 5
July 26, 2011
Action
MEMORANDUlVl
July 22,2011
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
Robert
H.
Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Action: Bill 19-11, Personnel- Collective Bargaining - Public Access
fLw
U
i
.
_,
I
Government Operations and FIscal Policy Committee recommendation
(3-0):
disapprove
I
the Bill.
Bill 19-11, Personnel - Collective Bargaining Public Access, sponsored by the Council
President on recommendation of the Organizational Reform Commission, was introduced on
June 14, 2011. A public hearing was held on July 12 and a Government Operations and Fiscal
Policy Committee worksession was held on July 18.
Bill 19-11 would require the Council to hold a public hearing on each collective
bargaining agreement submitted to it, change certain dates in the collective bargaining process,
and require public disclosure of each party's initial bargaining position on major economic
provisions. The Council delayed introducing this Bill until after finalizing the FY12 Budget
because these process changes, if enacted, could not take effect until collective bargaining for
FY 13 begins in the falL
Background
In its report to the Council dated January 31, 2011, the Organizational Reform
Commission (ORC), in
Recommendation
#18,
recommended amending the County collective
bargaining laws to require the Council to hold a public hearing on each collective bargaining
agreement submitted to it, change certain dates, and require public disclosure of each party's
initial bargaining position on major economic provisions.
The full text of the recommendation is below.
Public Accountability in Collective Bargaining
Collective bargaining sessions with County government employee unions are held in meetings
closed to the public. The proposals and counter-proposals made by each side are never made
public. If the parties reach impasse and invoke interest arbitration, the evidentiary hearing
conducted by the arbitrator must be closed to the public. The terms of a negotiated agreement or
an arbitrator's award are not made public until they are sent to the Council for approval, The
intent of this confidentiality is to encourage the parties to speak freely without fear of their
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statements being used against them. Attendance at negotiating sessions by members of the
public and the news media could inhibit the free and open discussion necessary to resolve
disputes. However, open meetings could also inhibit the parties from making unrealistic
demands and statements.
Collective bargaining in open meetings has been tried in Maryland. In 1981, the Carroll County
Board of Education adopted a resolution that all collective bargaining meetings with the union
representing public school teachers would be conducted in public. The union challenged the
Board's resolution in Court, alleging that it was a failure to bargain in good faith. Despite the
authority to conduct closed meetings to discuss collective bargaining in the Maryland Open
Meetings Law, the Court of Appeals held that the Board could insist on open meetings without
violating the duty to bargain in good faith. See,
Carroll County Education Association, Inc.
v.
Board ofEducation ofCarroll County,
294 Md. 144 (1982).
More recently, Washington County Public Schools required the school unions to participate in
open collective bargaining sessions in 2006. The parties eventually agreed to ground rules for
open bargaining that provide for a closed session at the beginning of each meeting to explore
new ideas, followed by an open meeting. All proposals and counter-proposals were made public
in the open meeting.
We do not believe that all collective bargaining sessions should be open to the public. The
parties must be able to speak freely without fear of each statement being published in the news
media in order to negotiate in good faith. However, the current system eliminates almost all
public input into the collective bargaining process.
We recommend a modest increase in public accountability that would continue to
'---_ _c!....p_er_mit the parties to speak freely during negotiations_.
_ _ _ __
);.>-
Specifically, we recommend that:
1. The initial proposals and counter-proposals in collective bargaining negotiations from
both parties should be publicly posted on the County's website for public comment.
The negotiated collective bargaining ground rules with each County employee union
should contain a final date for each party to submit all of their proposals for.
bargaining. We recommend posting the positions of each party, as of that date.
This
could be done by the Executive without changing current law or, alternatively, by the
Council amending County law.
l
.
Reservation of Organizational Reform Commissioner Susan Heltemes: Historically, the integrity of the
collective bargaining process has functioned under stringent guidelines that rely on the integrity of all persons
involved in the negotiations to maintain confidentiality to the process until a final product/agreement is attained.
The final product is open to the public and hearings are held by the Montgomery County Council. Initial disclosures
of proposals would likely establish unrealistic expectations not only for management, but also for employees since
initial proposals are usually not where the negotiations come down at the conclusion of bargaining. If opening
proffers were open to the public, it is likely that outside input could obstruct the bargaining process and interfere
with tight timelines and strategy. Such obstruction could alter the negotiating process and ultimately end in more
arbitration and deterioration of what has become a respected form of negotiation for our public sector employees. It
is important to note that Park and Planning employees, as well as HOC, Montgomery College and MCPS
employees, function under state guidelines that are different than those for the firefighters, police and
MCGEO. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that making opening proposals from the County and unions prior to
I
2
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2. The Council should conduct a public hearing on all collective bargaining agreements
before the Council's annual budget hearings. In order to accommodate this additional
public hearing, we recommend that the statutory time periods for declaring impasse
and completing arbitration be moved back by two weeks.
The Council would have to
amend current law to change these dates. The Council has the current authority to ·
hold a public hearing on collective bargaining agreements, but there is often not
enough time to do this.
h
a
The
fi
0
11owmg c
h
art sows the current sttt
ory
dtes an
d
our recommen
d
e
d
new
d
a
t
es:
au
Current
New
New Arbitration
Bargaining Law
Current
Impasse Date
Date
Arbitration Date
Impasse
Police
February 1
January 6
January 18
• January 20
February 1
General County
February 15
January 15 February 1
Employees
• January 2
January 17
January 15
Fire and Rescue
February 1
Executive's Response
In a memorandum to the Council President dated February 21, 2011, the Executive
responded to each of the 28 recommendations in the ORC report. The Executive did not take a
position on this recommendation? He stated:
18. Make the collective bargaining process more transparent and increase
opportunities for public input on
(a) initial proposals; and
(b) tbe end of the process.
The ORC report included several recommendations concerning the collective
bargaining process. Since
we
are
in
the midst ofhargaining
with
all three of our
employee unions, I do not think
it
is appropriate to comment on the Commission's
recommendations at this time.
Bill 19-11, sponsored by the Council President on recommendation of the ORC would
implement ORC Recommendations #18.
Public Hearing
All 8 witnesses at the July 12 public hearing opposed the Bill. Gino Renne, MCGEO
President (©13-17), John Sparks, IAFF Local 1664 President (©18-20), and Marc Zifcak, FOP
Lodge 35 President (©21-23) each argued that opening any part of the collective bargaining
process to the public would damage the free flow of information. Jean Athey, Peace Action
negotiating would actually result in savings. Such proposed savings are mere conjecture and not worth the effort of
upsetting a time honored process that works.
2 The Executive has still not taken a position on this Bill since the negotiations with the employee unions ended in
May.
3
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Montgomery (©24-25), Joslyn Williams, President of the Metropolitan Washington Council,
AFL-CIO (©26), Don Roose (©27), Elbridge James, Maryland NAACP, and Ryan Dennis,
Progressive Maryland also opposed the Bill as an attack on collective bargaining rights.
July
18
Worksession
The Committee reviewed the Bill. Stuart Weisberg, Office of Labor Relations,
represented the Executive Branch, and reported that the Executive does not have a position on
the Bill. Gino Renne, President of MCGEO answered .questions from the Committee. The
Committee recommended (3-0) disapproval of the Bill.
Issues
1.
Should the Executive and the union be required to post their initial demands and offers
for public review at the beginning of the collective bargaining process?
The opponents of the Bill argue that the collective bargaining process has worked well
for 30 years and should be left intact without any changes. The November 2010 Office of
Legislative Oversight Report on
Achieving a Strncturally Balanced Budget
found that the
County's structural budget deficit was fueled by a 64% increase in personnel costs while
workyears only increased by 10% over the last 10 years.
3
For FY12, the bargaining process did
not result in a complete negotiated agreement with any of the 3 County employee unions or with
the certified representative of the local volunteer fire and rescue departments. An arbitrator
resolved the impasse in negotiations with each certified organization, and the Executive's
proposed FY12 operating budget did not include full funding for any of these arbitration awards.
There is room for debate on how well the collective bargaining process is working.
Some of the public hearing speakers argued that collective bargaining sessions open to
the public would inhibit the free exchange of views. The ORC agreed. Bill 19-11 would not
require any bargaining sessions to be open to the public.
It
would simply require the parties to
publish their opening proposals at the beginning of the process. The theory is that this public
access would temper the opening proposals from each side and thereby leave the parties with less
ground to make up in working out an agreement. Publishing opening proposals should not
inhibit discussions during the negotiations. The Committee concluded that publishing opening
proposals would not significantly improve the bargaining process.
Committee
recommendation (3-0): do not require the posting of the initial demands and offers.
2. Should the Council be required to hold a public hearing on each collective bargaining
agreement or arbitration award?
The Bill would require the Council to conduct a public hearing on each collective
bargaining agreement or arbitration award before acting on it. Under current law, the Council
may, but is not required, to hold a public hearing. The Council does hold extensive public
The OLO Report is available at:
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WWW.1119J!tgo
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un!.)11.l~Lg.Qy/~Qn!entl
cQllIl<.:jll9I
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11-2.pdf
3
4
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hearings on the operating budget before adopting it. In order to add time for this public hearing
on each collective bargaining agreement, the dates for completing negotiations, resolving
impasses, and submitting the agreement to the Council for review and approval are moved up 2
weeks. A public hearing would promote a better understanding, and possibly acceptance, of the
Council's action on the agreement. As IAFF President John Sparks pointed out, the process is
already constrained by the need to wait for financial information and projections for the next
fiscal year. Mr. Sparks did agree with the requirement that the time for the Executive to submit
the agreement to the Council be moved from April
1
to March
15
to coincide with the
submission of the budget. The Committee concluded that the loss of
2
weeks in the collective
bargaining process would not justifY the usefulness of the public hearing.
Committee
recommendation
(3-0): do not reduce the time for negotiations in order to require a public
hearing.
This packet contains:
Circle
#
1
Bi1119-11
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal Impact Statement
Testimony
Gino Renne
John Sparks
Marc Zifcak (without attachments)
Jean Athey
Joslyn Williams
Don Roose
10
11
13
18
21
24
26
27
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5
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Bill No.
19-11
Concerning: Personnel
Collective
Bargaining - Public Access
Revised: June 7, 2011 Draft No.1
Introduced:
June 14, 2011
Expires:
December 14,2012
Enacted: _ _ _
~
_ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: _N:..:.o...,n.'::e:.-_:--_ _ __
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Council President on the recommendation of the Organizational Refonn Commission
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
require the Council to hold a public hearing on each collective bargaining agreement
submitted to it;
change certain dates;
require public disclosure of each party's initial bargaining position on major
economic provisions; and
generally amend County collective bargaining laws.
(4)
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 33, Personnel and Human Resources
Sections 33-80,
33~81,
33-108, and 33-153
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined tenn.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deleted from existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Councilfor Montgomery County, Maryland approves thefollowing Act:
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BILL NO. 19-11
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Sec.
1.
Sections 33-80,33-81,33-108, and 33-153 are amended as follows:
33-80.
Collective bargaining.
*
(d)
*
*
Time limits.
Collective bargaining [shall commence] must begin no later
than November 1 [preceding a] before any fiscal year for which there is
no contract between the employer and the certified representative and
[shall] should
be
concluded by January [20]
2.
The employer must
publish the certified representative's initial proposal on economic terms
and the employer's initial counter-proposal on economic terms on an
internet site accessible to the public within 10 days after the employer's
initial counter-proposal is made.
The resolution of an impasse in
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
collective bargaining [shall] must be completed by [February 1] January
~.
These time limits may be waived only by prior written consent of
the parties.
*
(g)
*
*
Submission to Council.
A ratified agreement [shall be] is binding on the
employer and the certified representative, and [shall] must be reduced to
writing and executed by both parties.
In each proposed annual
operating budget, the County Executive [shall] must describe any
collective bargaining agreement or amendment to an agreement that is
scheduled to take effect in the next fiscal year and estimate the cost of
implementing that agreement. Any term or condition of a collective
bargaining agreement which requires an appropriation of funds or
enactment, repeal.1 or modification of a County law [shall] must be
timely submitted to the County Council by the employer by [April 1]
March
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
11,
unless extenuating circumstances require a later date. If a
later submission is necessary, the employer [shall] must specify the
6
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BILL
No.
19-11
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
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38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
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submission date and the reasons for delay to the Council President by
[April 1] March
11.
The employer [shall] must make a good faith effort
to have such term or condition implemented by Council action. Each
submission to the Council [shall] must include:
(I)
all proposed legislation and regulations necessary to implement
the collective bargaining agreement;
(2)
all changes from the previous collective bargaining agreement,
indicated by brackets and underlines or a similar notation system;
and
(3)
all side letters or other extraneous documents that are binding on
the parties.
(h)
Council review.
The Council must hold
!!
public hearing to allow the
parties and the public to testify on the agreement. On or before May
1, the County Council [shall] must indicate by resolution its
[intention] intent to appropriate funds for or otherwise implement the
agreement or its [intention] intent not to do so, and [shall] must state
its reasons for any intent to reject any part of the agreement. The
Council, by majority vote taken on or before May 1, may defer the
May 1 deadline to any date not later than May 15. If the Council
indicates its [intention] intent to reject any part, it [shall] must
designate a representative to meet with the parties and present the
Council's views in their further negotiations.
This representative
[shall] must also participate fully in stating the Council's position in
any ensuing impasse procedure. The parties [shall] must thereafter
meet as promptly as possible and attempt to negotiate an agreement
acceptable to the Council. Either [of the parties]
llli1!Y
may initiate the
impasse procedure [set forth] described in Section 33-81. The results
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BILL
No.
19-11
55
56
57
of the negotiation or impasse procedure [shall] must be submitted to
the Council on or before May 10. If the Council has deferred the May
I deadline, that action automatically postpones the May 10 deadline
by the same number of days.
58
59
60
61
*
33-81.
(a)
Impasse procedure.
*
*
Before September 10 of any year
in
which the employer and a certified
representative bargain collectively, they shall choose an impasse neutral
either by agreement or through the processes of the American
Arbitration Association. The impasse neutral [shall be required to] must
be available during the period from January [20]
Q
to [February
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
11
January
1]..
Fees, costs and expenses of the impasse neutral [shall] must
be shared equally by the employer and the certified representative.
(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]
Q,
an impasse exists.
*
(5)
*
*
73
74
75
76
77
On or before [February
1]
January
1].,
the impasse neutral must
select, as a whole, the more reasonable, in the impasse neutral's
judgment, of the final offers submitted by the parties.
*
33-108.
*
*
Bargaining, impasse, and legislative procedures.
Collective bargaining must begin no later than November I before the
beginning of a fiscal year for which there is no agreement between the
employer and the certified representative, and must be finished on or
before [February 1] January
78
79
(a)
80
81
U.
The employer must publish the
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i-;\
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BILL
No.
19-11
82
83
84
85
certified representative's initial proposal on economic tenns and the
employer's initial counter-proposal on economic tenns on an internet
site accessible to the public within 10 days after the employer's initial
counter-proposal is made.
86
87
88
*
(e)
(1)
declare
an
*
impasse
and
*
request
the
services
of the
During the course of collective bargaining, either party may
89
mediator/arbitrator, or the parties may jointly request those
services before an impasse is declared. If the parties do not reach
an agreement by [February 1] January
U,
an impasse exists.
Any issue regarding the negotiability of any bargaining proposal
must be referred to the Labor Relations Administrator for an
expedited detennination.
90
91
92
93
94
95
*
(3)
*
*
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
If the mediator/arbitrator finds, in the mediator/arbitrator's sole
discretion, that the parties are at a bona fide impasse, or as of
[February 1] January 15 when an impasse is automatically
reached, whichever occurs earlier, the dispute must be submitted
to binding arbitration.
(t)
(1)
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
submit jointly a memorandum of all items previously agreed on.
*
*
*
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BILL
No. 19-11
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
(3)
On or before February [15]
1,
the mediator/arbitrator must select,
as a whole, the more reasonable of the final offers submitted by
the parties. The mediator/arbitrator must not compromise or alter
a final offer. The mediator/arbitrator must not consider or receive
any argument or evidence related to the history of collective
bargaining in the immediate dispute, including any prevIOUS
settlement offer not contained in the final offers. However, the
mediator/arbitrator must consider all previously agreed-on items,
integrated with the disputed items, to decide which offer is the
most reasonable.
*
(g)
*
*
In each proposed annual operating budget, the County Executive must
describe any collective bargaining agreement or amendment to an
agreement that is scheduled to take effect in the next fiscal year and
estimate the cost of implementing that agreement. The employer must
submit to the Council by [April 1] March
12.,
unless extenuating
circumstances require a later date, any tenn or condition of the
collective bargaining agreement that requires an appropriation of
funds, or the enactment or adoption of any County law or regulation,
or which has or may have a present or future fiscal impact. If a later
submission is necessary, the employer must specify the submission
date and the reasons for delay to the Council President by [April
March
11
12..
The employer must expressly identify to the Council and
the certified representative any term or condition that requires Council
review. Each submission to the Council must include:
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BILL
No.
19-11
135
136
137
138
139
(1)
all proposed legislation and regulations necessary to implement
the collective bargaining agreement;
(2)
all changes from the previous collective bargaining agreement,
indicated by brackets and underlines or a similar notation
system; and
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
ISO
(3)
all side letters or other extraneous documents that are binding
on the parties.
The employer must make a good faith effort to have the Council
approve all terms of the final agreement that require Council review.
(h)
The Council [may] must hold a public hearing to enable the parties
and the public to testify on the agreement.
*
33-153.
(a)
*
*
Bargaining, impasse,
and
legislative procedures.
Collective bargaining must begin no later than the November 1 before
the beginning of a fiscal year for which there is no agreement between
the employer and the certified representative, and must be completed
on or before January [15]
2.
The resolution of a bargaining impasse
must be completed by [February 1] January
l1.
These time limits
may be waived or extended by written agreement of the parties. The
employer must publish the certified representative's initial proposal
on economic terms and the employer's initial counter-proposal on
economic terms on an internet site accessible to the public within
lQ
days after the employer's initial counter-proposal is made.
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
*
(d)
*
*
Before September 10 of any year in which the employer and the
certified representative bargain collectively, they must choose an
e
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BILL No. 19-11
161
162
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173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
impasse neutral, either by agreement or through the processes of the
American Arbitration Association. The impasse neutral must be
available from January
[15]
2
to
[February
1]
January 17. The impasse
neutral's fees and expenses must be shared equally by the employer and
the certified representative.
(e)
During the course of collective bargaining, either party may declare an
impasse and request the services of the impasse neutral, or the parties
may jointly request those services before declaring an impasse. If the
parties have not agreed on a collective bargaining agreement by January
[15]
2,
an impasse exists by operation oflaw.
*
*
*
(i)
On or before [February
1]
January 17, 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.
*
(1)
*
*
In each proposed annual operating budget, the County Executive must
describe any collective bargaining agreement or amendment to an
agreement that is scheduled to take effect in the next fiscal year and
estimate the cost of implementing that agreement.
The annual
operating budget must include sufficient funds to pay for the items in
the parties' final agreement. The employer must expressly identify to
the Council by [April
1]
March.li, unless extenuating circumstances
require a later date, all terms and conditions in the agreement that:
(I)
(2)
require an appropriation of funds,
[or]
are inconsistent with any County law or regulation,
[or]
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BILL No. 19-11
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
(3)
reqUIre the enactment or adoption of any County law or
regulation, or
(4)
which have or may have a present or future fiscal impact.
If a later submission is necessary, the employer must specify the
submission date and the reasons for delay to the Council President by
[April 1] March
U.
The employer must make a good faith effort to
have the Council take action to implement all terms and conditions in
the parties' final agreement.
*
(n)
*
*
The Council [may] must hold a public hearing to enable the parties
and the public to testify on the agreement.
*
Approved:
*
*
200
Valerie Ervin, President, County Council
201
Date
Approved:
202
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
203
Date
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
204
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bill 19-11
Personnel
-
Collective Bargaining Public Access
DESCRIPTION:
Bill 19-11 would require the Council to hold a public hearing on each
collective bargaining agreement submitted to it, change certain dates
in the collective bargaining process, and require public disclosure of
each party's initial bargaining position on major economic
provisions.
The Organizational Reform Commission recommended these
chang~s
to the collective bargaining laws.
To increase public access to the collective bargaining process with
County employees.
County Executive, County Attorney, Human Resources
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Organizational Reform Commission Report.
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
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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@
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OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
Joseph F.
Beach
Director
MEMORANDUM
July
8,2011
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Council .
1f
,Personnel- Col1ective Bargaining - Public Access
The purpose of this memorandum is to transmit a fIScal and economic impact statement
to the Council on the subject legislation.
LEGISLATION SUMMARY
Council Bill
19-11
would require the County Council to hold
a
public hearing on each
collective bargaining agreement submitted to it, accelerate the statutorily required dates for declaring
impasse and completing arbitration by two weeks, and require public disclosure of each party's initial
bargaining position on economic provisions. The last change is accomplished by requiring the employer
to post the union's initial proposal on economic tenns and the employer's initial counter-proposal on
economic terms on an internet site accessible to the public within
10
days after the employer's counter­
proposal is made.
FISCAL SUMMARY
The fiscal impact ofthe proposed legislation
is
indeterminate. Factors that could have an
effect include:
• any additional work involved in organizing and placing proposals for publication on a public internet
site but the volume of that work is not expected to be significant;
• any additional time spent responding to public inquiries about the collective bargaining process or the
content of proposals and counter-proposals; and
• the compressed schedule, which may lead to inefficiencies in the process. Both the management and
the union teams will have less time to prepare. This increases the likelihood that there would
be
more
unresolved issues leading to impasse, which could increase the number
of
days spent in mediation and
arbitration. The cost for an additional day for a mediator or
an
arbitrator ranges from
$1,500
to
$3,000
1•
See the fiscal impact statement for Council
Bi1l20-11.
Personnel- Collective Bargaining - Public
Accountability
- Impasse
Arbitration.
I
Office of the Director
------~---.~-.~.-~.-
..
- . - ­
101 Monroe Street, 14th Floor' Rockvi1le, MaryJand 20850 • 240-777-2800
www.montgomerycQuutymd.gov
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Valerie Ervin, President, County Council
July 8, 2011
Page 2
ECONONnCSUNrndARY
The Department ofFinance does not beUeve that the subject legislation has a quantifiable
economic impact on Montgomery County because the size ofthe workforce it affects is small
in
relation
to the
total
County resident workforce and the impact ofthe legislation on the outcome of mediation and
arbitration can not be reliably determined or quantified.
The following contributed to and concurred with this analysis; Stuart Weisberg, Office of
Human
Resource~
Ieremy Milewski, Office of Human Resources, Michael Coveyou, Department of
Finance, and Lori O'Brien, Office of Management and Budget.
JFB:lob
c: Kathleen Boucher, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Lisa Austin, Offices ofthe County Executive
Joseph Adler, Director, Office of Human Resources
Karen Hawkins, Acting Director, Department ofFinance
Michael Coveyou, Department of Finance
Ieremy Milewski, Office ofHuman Resources
Stuart Weisberg, Office ofHuman Resources
Lori O'Brien, Office ofManagement and Budget
John Cuff, Office ofManagement and Budget
Amy Wilson, Office of Management and Budget
@
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• GINO RENNE PRESIDENT
• YVETTE CUFFlE SECRETARy-TREASURER
• NELVIN RANSOME RECORDER
• WWW.MCGEO.ORG
Testimony of Gino Renne
Bill Nos. 18-11, 19-11, 20-11
I am here today in opposition to the unrelenting attack on the rights of
working people-employees of this County-to bargain collectively.
Each of these bills would weaken that right and turn the collective
bargaining process into a 3 ring circus.
The purpose of these bills is to maintain an empty
fa~ade
for a process
that has been hollowed out from within. These proposals are nothing
more than political theater, hypocritical and cynical attempts to dodge
responsibility for governing and to play to the media's anti-union
bigotry. It is galling, too, that when you follow the logic string to the
source of these ideas, you find that they germinated in places with no
economic or cultural link to our County-one small Maryland County or
in small, rural states where right-to-work attitudes are nurtured by
right-wing politicians.
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Think about what you are doing here:
• Proposing ((public" bargaining is just another ploy for shedding your
responsibility to County residents. Our recent experience informs us
that the public was thoroughly involved in the last round of bargaining.
Certainly, one of the major impediments to an equitable agreement
was the incessant effort on the part of the County Executive to run to
the press with details of negotiations at every possible opportunity.
Moreover, real bargaining requires parties to engage in serious and
frank discussion, and to put forth proposals that may not always
completely satisfy their respective constituents. When bargaining is
'll
FRANK BECKHAM
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JERRY BONAPARTE
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SEAN COLLINS "PAULETTE KEE-DUDLEY
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GOEBEL
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ROBERT LEHMAN
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VICE PRESIDENTS:
CRAIG LONGCOR
JAMES MAXWELL:'!! TERRI MILLER':'! SUSAN SMITHERS'l'l TONY THOMAS
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SEDEARIA WILSON-JACKSON
~
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made open to public scrutiny, there is no incentive for parties to
engage in such real bargaining. Instead, parties are rewarded for public
posturing and coming up with sound bites to defend their respective
positions. This degrades the real collective bargaining process, which is
already subject to public scrutiny at the point at which parties reach
agreement and that agreement is rigorously examined and voted upon
by this Council. That process, as currently constituted, makes this sort
of law unnecessary and reveals it as the cynical political ploy that it is.
• Plans to reformulate the arbitration system is at best superficial and
inconsequential, at worst a more expensive provision, that would not
improve the bargaining process.
• Eliminating "effects" bargaining for County police officers would
enable the Police Department to evade responsibility for incompetent
management and add a layer of fog to management decisions.
It is a waste of the County's resources and an affront to taxpayers and
County workers to once again devote more time and money to nibble
around the edges trying to devise new ways to hobble the collective
bargaining law.
Last year, we criticized proposals to weaken the law's arbitration
provisions as nothing more than an effort by the Council and the
Executive to dodge responsibility for management failures and the
outcome in bargaining. That legislation was nevertheless enacted, yet
we saw the union positions prevail in each case within that weakened
arbitration process.
This council has zero credibility with our union right now. Madam
president, you sat across the table from us at the Woodside Deli this
Spring and personally assured us that the council had no intention of
taking action on the ORC recommendations concerning collective
MUNICIPAL
&
COUNTY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ORGANIZATION
600
FRtDER.lCKAVENUE'
;COO
Gi·,:Tf-iERSBURG
20877
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bargaining- claiming that these recommendations were not only
outside of the Commission's purview, but were inappropriate and
ridiculous. Yet here we are today. Ms. Ervin, legislation motivated by
retribution and fragile egos, does not make good policy.
Collective bargaining for Montgomery County workers has been
evolving since the early 1970s when the County adopted a thoroughly
ineffective
tlmeet
and confer" process. The system that we have today
was put into effect in 1986 with legislation that ended meet and confer
and adopted full-scale negotiations on economics and working
conditions. It was the product of very hard work by a highly motivated
group of political, community, labor, and business leaders. I was proud
to be among them.
The County Council was "authorized" to develop collective bargaining in
1984 under the terms of a ballot proposition adopted by County voters.
The conditions for all three units were deplorable because there was no
legal compulsion on the part of the County to deal honorably with its
workforce. Our memory of the pre-bargaining era drives us to fight
hard against any proposals that would redirect us toward those bad old
days.
The Council's current forays into "amending" collective bargaining are
largely prompted by a misreading of the political winds-a belief that
they can distract attention from management failures and a lack of
political leadership by flogging the County's workforce and blaming us
for the County's fiscal woes.
We also see a "herd mentality" within the Council, responding like deer
in the headlights to the editorial opinions of the Washington Post
where anti union sentiment is rife. We would caution Council members
that the Washington Post's editorial page never appears on a ballot.
MUNICIPAL & COUNTY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ORGANIZATION
600
SOUTH FP,ECEPJCKAVENUE . SCJITE
200
'GAiTHE?5BURG,
20877
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Voters cast their votes with the expectation that individuals who are
elected to the Council will demonstrate leadership.
Economics, of course, is the core of our disagreement with the Council
and the Executive. Our mission is to advocate for our members within
the legally established framework of collective bargaining.
Management's job is to craft the choices and marshal the resources of
the County to, first and foremost, govern prudently by providing
residents with taxpayer services: public safety, education, recreation,
health and a social safety net. Our members are the keystone of the
County's resources.
We remind you that the current collective bargaining system has
yielded voluntary acceptance of wage freezes and major sacrifices by
the workforce that saved taxpayers tens of millions of dollars over the
past three years in return for the County's assurances of employment
security and with the full expectation that we will recover these losses
over time as the economy is restored.
As difficult as the past three years have been for all working families,
and especially our members, one can only imagine what would have
been the fate of Ride On bus operators, nurses and health
profeSSionals, drivers and laborers in DPW, corrections officers, deputy
sheriffs, librarians and other general government workers in this era of
retrenchment if they had to endure this recession without union
representation. One can only imagine the deterioration in services that
County residents would have had to endure if the County's elected
officials had been left to their own devices to deal with the effects of
this national recession.
We do not speak for the County's police officers or firefighters, but we
are closely aligned with them in the defense of collective bargaining.
MUNICIPAL
&
COUNTY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ORGANIZAT10N "'
600 SOUTH FREDERICK
AVENU~
j
SUITE 200
GAITHERSBURG,
NO
20877
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We note that the County Council has proposed legislation that would
alter the effects bargaining procedures for the County police force. I
would like to convey MCGEO's strong opposition to this legislation for
the same reason that we oppose the other bills: this is a cynical attempt
to place blame on County workers (in this case the police officers who
protect our County), who did not create this mess and should not be
used as political pawns for Council members who seek to advance their
own agendas. This police legislation is particularly shamefut since it
alters workers right to bargain at a time when workers need strong
representation the most-when jobs are lost due to economic
conditions outside the workers' control.
I submit that there is no need for these changes and there is still time
and opportunity for the Council to redirect your efforts toward building
a sustainable model of County government where all the stakeholders
who work and live here-residents, business interests and the
workforce-can collaborate and thrive in an environment that puts
people above politics.
Thank you.
MUNICIPAL
&
COUNTY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ORGANIZATION
600 SOUTf-l FRED EPJCK AVENUE
'1
SUiTE 2001 GA,THEPS3URG, MD 20877
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Montgomery Co'unty Career
Fire Fighters Ass'n., Inc.
LOCAL 1664
j
Testimony by John J. Sparks
~S
President, IAFF Local 1664
Public Hearing - Bills 18-11, 19-11
&
20-11
July
12,2011
I am John Sparks, President of the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association, IAFF
Loca11664.· I am here today to speak in opposition to the three bills that, if adopted, would
adversely impact collective bargaining for County employees, while at the same time produce
little or no savings for County Government. 'While the three bills address different aspects of the
collective bargaining process, and Bill 18-11 does not directly impact collective bargaining for
fire fighters and paramedics, all three bills suffer from a common set of deficiencies.
First, we believe thatthe Organizational Reform Commission, whose recommendations form the
basis of these bills, overstepped its bounds. The original charge given to the ORC did not
include consideration of changes to the County's collective bargaining laws; and for good
reason.
It
is our understanding that most members of the ORC had little or no experience in
matters pertaining to labor relations and collective bargaining, and the results of their work that
are incorporated in these bills demonstrate this lack of experience. Most of the recommended
changes to the collective bargaining process contained in these bills are not well thought out and
contain serious flaws.
F or instance, Bill 19-11, if adopted, would move the date for completing the term bargaining and
impasse resolution procedures up two weeks. Yet at the same time, it doesn't move up the start
of term bargaining by a similar period of time. More importantly, experience has shown that the
County is unable to provide complete and meaningful responses to the Unions' request for
financial data until mid-December and perhaps even into January in any given fiscal year. Thus,
substantive bargaining over economic proposals cannot occur until that point in time, which
would be close to or beyond the early January date that the bill would establish as the point in
time that statutory impasse occurs.
Second, Bill 19-11 would require that the Unions' initial proposals on economic items and the
County Executive's counter-proposals on those items be made available for public review.
This proposed amendment would add no value at all to the collective bargaining process, and in
fact, could actually harm the process. \Ve agree with the observation of ORC Commissioner
Susan Heltemes that the integrity of the collective bargaining process relies on all persons
involved in the negotiations to maintain confidentiality until a final agreement is reached; and
that if initial proposals were made public, outside pressures would more often than not lead to
breakdowns and stalemates in the bargaining process.
Further, to
thin..1;:
that requiring proposals to be made public
will
influence the parties to moderate
their
IS
In addition, anyone who
participated in
932 Hungerford Drive, Suite 33;\, Rockville, MD 20850-1713 • Telephone: (301) 762-6611 • FAX: (301) 762·7390 • Website: www.iaffloca/1664.com
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collective bargaining knows full well that the final outcome in collective bargaining usually
bears little resemblance to the initial proposals. This proposed law change would neither
generate any savings for the County, nor would it create any improvements to the collective
bargaining process.
We do, however, agree with the proposed amendment in Bill 19-11 that would require the
County Executive to submit to the Council by March
15
any term of a labor contract which
requires an appropriation of funds or change to CoUnty law. Such notification should occur at
the same time the County Executive submits his proposed operating budget, not two weeks later.
Turning to Bi1l20-l1, we note, with objection, that the impasse resolution procedure would be
changed to prohibit the same individual from serving as both the mediator and impasse
arbitrator, as is the case now.
In
making this recommendation, the ORC commented in its report
that the free flo\.v of ideas during mediation is diminished when the mediator also serves as the
arbitrator. Speaking from years of experience, I can tell you that just the opposite is true.
Having the same individual appointed as both mediator and arbitrator facilitates rather than
inhibits the discussion that occurs during mediation, and creates a greater chance of reaching a
full or partial agreement prior to arbitration.
Also, there is no doubt that requiring different individuals to serve as mediator and neutral
arbitrator would significantly increase the time needed to complete the impasse resolution
process. Under the current system, the impasse neutral gains valuable insight as to the purpose,
intent and practical application of the parties' contract proposals during mediation. Significant
time is saved in a subsequent arbitration proceeding by the impasse neutral having previously
gained this understanding. Time that is already at a premium would have to be spent educating a
different person serving as the arbitrator as to the context and parameters of the parties'
proposals.
Further, the provision of Bill 20-11 that would create a tripartite arbitration board, with the
Union and the Employer each appointing a partisan representative, can be summed up best as
being nonsensical.
In
every case, without exception, each partisan member of the arbitration
board will vote to select the Last Best Final Offer of the party that appointed him or her. Any
information that the neutral arbitrator needs about the Last Best Final Offers is provided during
the arbitration hearing. We view this tripartite board proposal as being mere "window dressing"
rather than serving any useful purpose.
In
addition, the five-member impasse panel that Bill 20-11 would create for the purpose of
selecting a neutral arbitrator in the absence of a joint selection by the parties is actually
counterproductive. The language ofthe bill restricts panel eligibility to individuals who are
Cotmty residents. All affected parties, including County taxpayers, are best served by having
arbitrators who have considerable experience in interest arbitration deciding cases of such critical
importance. There is simply not a large (i.e., adequate) pool of candidates with the desired
qualifications living in Montgomery County. Moreover, it is wrong to think that arbitrators who
live in the County are, for that reason, best qualified to understand and resolve issues involving
the allocation of County funds.
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Finally, Bill 20-11 would amend the County collective bargaining laws by changing the criteria
that guide an arbitrator in selecting one of the two competing Last Best Final Offers. More
specifically, the bill would add criteria that the Council considered and rejected just six or seven
months ago. The criteria that were not adopted were rejected for good reason. They would
unfairly tip the impasse resolution scale far in the direction of the County Executive.
Nothing has occurred in the last few months from which to conclude that those rejected criteria
should now be adopted. VVhile interest arbitrators selected the Last Best Final Offer of the
employee representative in all three cases occurring this past winter, it was not because the
existing criteria are deficient or slanted in a way to produce results that are favorable to the
employees; it was because,
as the Council quickly recognized,
the Last Best Final Offer that the
County Executive submitted in each case contained
extreme
proposals that went far beyond what
was necessary to address the County's fiscal problems. The existing criteria in the collective
bargaining laws have been written to achieve the desired end result: the selection of the Last Best
Final Offer that contains the most fair and balanced resolution to a collective bargaining impasse.
Moreover, the Council still serves as the final arbiter on whether the economic provisions of a
collective bargaining agreement are put into effect.
We urge the Council to reject the objectionable elements of the bills that have been highlighted
herein.
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~lontgomery
County Lodge 35, Inc.
18512 Office Park Drive
Montgomery Village, MD 20886
Phone: (301) 948-4286
Fax: (301) 590-0317
Statement of Fraternal Order of Police,
Montgomery County Lodge 35
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
We are here again because the County clearly wants the priority of County police officers to be
fighting for their rights rather than providing services to the public. For shame, because despite
years of VOLUNTARY concessions by police officers made during the County's tight fiscal
situation, and as the County budget increases, we have to be here to spend our time defending a
process that has worked for nearly three decades.
It
worked up until the day politicians found
process under law inconvenient to their purpose.
The County Council has several bills before it. These bills arise from a very questionable
set ofrecommendations in the January
2011
report of the Organizational Review Commission.
The most questionable is based on a recommendation on so called "effects bargaining."
The capital budget is in the billions of dollars, yet the commission had some special
interest in the collective bargaining process which has worked well for over
28
years. The
commission showed no interest in either the very high salaries of non-represented, non-union
employees or the means which their salaries and benefits are established. Clearly the
commission was carrying water for political interests. This recommendation is outside the scope
of the commission's charge and should be dismissed.
Employee contract negotiations are no different than any other negotiations the County
engages in for services. The County employs both represented and non-represented employees.
It
seems odd that the Commission focused on employee contracts for a minority of county­
compensated employees. There are
15,000
county employees and
22,000
MCPS employees.
There are but
1200
police officers.
The minutes of the commission do not show any detailed discussion of what is called
"effects bargaining". Apparently, they did some of their work in secret while maintaining a
misperception of openness and transparency. Their work seems more political, and devised in
secret without scrutiny or accountability. In its final report, the commission makes conclusions
based on either secret conversations that are not documented or were documented and are now
withheld from public view. We have filed a complaint with the police department to have them
investigate. This is a matter of management's integrity and accountability. [Attached]
Their conclusions are based upon a false premise. Either the commission made up what
it asserts to be facts, or someone gave false and misleading information. [See PIA records
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FOP Statement
July 12,2011
Page 2 of 3
request and response, attached]
In
any event, we met with the commission and were never
afforded any opportunity to respond to any allegations or assertions concerning "effects" that
were ultimately presented in the final report.
Since there are only two parties to "effects bargaining",
it
is patently unfair that the
commission heard from only one party and never afforded FOP Lodge 35 any opportunity to
respond. The commission called its credibility into question through this one-sided
approach. Also, clearly, as noted by one commission member, effects bargaining was not within
the charge ofthe commission. For whatever reason, the co-chairs ofthe commission and a
majority of that commission allowed
it
to be used for political purposes with little or no
consideration to fairness, balance, perspective or veracity. We have responded to portions of the
commission's report. [Attached]
"Effects bargaining" comes out of a case that was decided by the United States Supreme
Court.
It
is a complex topic, rarely understood by its critics. Effects bargaining has never had
any adverse impact upon our ability to respond to calls for service or to protect the public.
Indeed, we estimate that about 95% of the police department's business is not subject to
bargaining and we have no interest in requiring such bargaining. Penultimately, under our law,
issues subject to "effects bargaining" are subject to an expedited resolution process.
In
2004 we
agreed to a law change that sets a very short period to go to impasse and resolve effects matters.
Management has rarely, if ever used that process and has no right to complain.
Some, notably Councilmember Phil Andrews, have consistently distorted the facts and
been less than candid about effects bargaining. Mr. Andrews uses the in-car video program as an
example that he claims makes his point. Assuming,
arguendo,
that in-car video involves effects
bargaining, the fact is that the county proposed a pilot program. The County began bargaining
cameras, and bought them. They were installed in vehicles and operating. Several legal issues
arose during discussions as several cameras were field tested. Our chief concern was the wiretap
laws and public and officer privacy rights.
The County, not FOP Lodge 35, sought to discontinue discussions. Then Chief Charles
Moose contacted us and asked to call off negotiations because the County wanted to return the
cameras and use the money for something else. In any bargaining, once a party abandons or
withdraws its proposal, the proposal is off the table. Thereafter, we went through several rounds
ofterm negotiations and the County never raised the subject, nor did they pursue it in any other
manner until very late in term bargaining in December 2007. The issue was resolved and an
agreement signed in 2008. We have testified under oath to the history of this subject. Mr.
Andrews' uninformed statements have not been under oath.
We have little interest in most operational policies, such as processing prisoners, opening
facilities, determining functions like school resource officers, determining enforcement priorities
and the like. To our knowledge we have only been to impasse on one issue, and that was
successfully mediated prior to a hearing. Other issues that have successfully bargained and
agreements reached include technology changes affecting the way work is done, increasing the
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FOP Statement
July 12,2011
Page 3 of 3
number of supervisors on the midnight shift, and reducing the number of master police officers.
There are others.
It
is far more likely that inept management and ineffectual leadership hinder police
operations. We meet with police management quarterly in a labor relations meeting, we resolve
issues in the workplace daily and we have solicited regularly for any outstanding items the
County wishes to discuss. [Attached] In fact, most issues arising from operational changes are
resolved without controversy. But the issue must be brought to our attention. Ifthere is a
problem with police officers checking email, we were not made aware of
it
until today's
newspaper was delivered to our office.
Again, contract negotiation with employees is no different than contract negotiation with
any other service provider. Public access to proposals during bargaining harms the ability to
openly discuss all options. The County does not make public negotiations with Live Nation,
Costco, Westfield or other corporations with which it deals. Additionally, the premise that the
public has no input in the collective bargaining process is false. The public is at the table. We
serve and live in the County.
The commission fails to show that the fair and level playing field established under the
Police Labor Relations Article for impasse arbitration is in any way deficient. In recommending
a change to the impasse procedure the commission fails to cite one arbitration decision that was
unsound. The only fact cited is the number of arbitrations and who prevailed. This is analogous
to determining that the rules of baseball must be changed based on the number oftime the New
York Yankees make it to the World Series. No one has identified any deficiency in the impasse
arbitration process other
than
the FOP has been found to be more reasonable than the County
more often than not. We are not surprised by that statistic.
The police officers in Montgomery County want to return to work. Instead, we are called
here to address baseless attacks on our rights under law a process that has kept police officers
doing what they should be doing: protecting and addressing the public safety concerns of the
community.
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Peace Action Montgomery
Montgomery Co, MD
)1
Power for Peace
Testimony in Opposition to Bill 19-11
Personnel-Collective Bargaining -Public Access
July 12,2011
My name is Jean Athey and I am coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery. On behalf of
our organization and in support of Montgomery County workers, I offer these
observations regarding Bill 19-11 dealing with collective bargaining for County
workers.
Given the sharp decline in union membership in the private sector, it is understandable
that the public is generally unaware of how collective bargaining works and what it is
intended to accomplish.
It
is not merely -as some would suggest-an arrangement
that caters to unions and workers. Rather, as you know, collective bargaining provides a
mechanism that enhances the roles of both management and workers. That is, it is a
means to accommodate the needs of each side as expressed by their representatives.
We fear that piecemeal changes to address aspects of public policy, such as this, without
a broader effort to put the policy in context generally result in unintended and often
negative consequences.
That is how we view this current proposal for so-called" open" bargaining sessions.
First of all, if the Executive and his designated negotiators are not representing the
public, who are they representing when they negotiate with employee organizations?
As taxpayers, we expect our elected representatives to do exactly that: represent us.
Opening these sessions in the way that is proposed will hamper open and frank
discussion and encourage both sides to play to real or perceived audiences. Bargaining
of any type is most effective when the parties feel free to exchange views candidly.
And please note: Open negotiations would, by definition, be open to union members as
well as those who are opposed to bargaining. That could be a combustible mix that
could produce lots of heat, but not very much light and precious little progress toward
an equitable and productive workplace.
P.O. Box 1653, Olney, MD 20830
Phone: 301-570-0923 www.PeaceActionMC.org
An Organization of2,600 Dues-Paying Members in Montgomery County
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Page 2
We agree with the comments of Organizational Reform Commissioner Susan Heltemes
who said:
"Initial disclosures of proposals would likely establish unrealistic expectations not only
for management, but also for employees since initial proposals are usually not where
the negotiations come down at the conclusion of bargaining.
If
opening proffers were
open to the public, it is likely that outside input could obstruct the bargaining process
and interfere with tight timelines and strategy. Such obstruction could alter the
negotiating process and ultimately end in more arbitration and deterioration of what
has become a respected form of negotiation for our public sector employees."
We strongly recommend that the Council and the Executive restrain the urge to enact
these or any other changes to the labor laws unless and until the public interest is
clearly identified, which we don't think it has been in this case.
And finally, as concerned citizens, we would like to express our disappointment with the
recent actions in the County relating to union negotiations. For example, as you surely know,
the arbitrator for the MCGEO impasse stated that the union's proposal met the county's goals
for saving money but in a way that was fairer to employees. But this arbitration was totally
ignored. This appeared to us to be bad-faith negotiating on the part of the County, at best.
So now there is a new version oflabor relations law before the CounciL We wonder why the
County didn't follow its own rules previously in its negotiations with its workforce and we
ask why the workers should expect the County to follow new rules when it has shown such
disrespect for the current ones.
Thank you.
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TESTIMONY OF JOSLYN N. WILLIAMS
PRESIDENT METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL, AFL-CIO
ON BILLS 19-11 AND 20-11
July 12, 2011
Good afternoon. My name is Joslyn Williams and I'm President of the Metropolitan Washington
Council, AFL-ClO, the umbrella organization for nearly 200 area unions representing over
150,000 area union members and their families.
Brother Renne has done his usual superb job of laying out a convincing case against the bills
before you, so I won't belabor the points he's already touched on. What I'd like to do instead is
to say just how disappointing and deeply frustrating it's been this year to find these sorts of
attacks on public workers occurring here in Montgomery County.
The local labor movement has rallied and marched in the streets of the nation's capitol this
year against the ongoing attacks on Wisconsin's public workers - indeed at one point we took
over a building where lobbyists were holding a fund raiser for Wisconsin republican leaders. In
the district, we played a vital role in firing DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, who had scapegoated public
workers as well, most notably hardworking teachers in the city's schools.
As we watched such attacks spread to other states like Ohio and New Jersey, we
congratulated ourselves that in Montgomery County we were fortunate to enjoy a collaborative
relationship with county political leaders who not only appreciated workers and the union
movement, but celebrated and were proud of that relationship.
That relationship extends beyond legislation, politics and negotiations: we're proud that the
DC Labor FilmFest, one of the biggest and most successful such film festivals in the country, is
held every year at the American Film Institute, where, i might add, the workers are all union
members as well.
So I don't mind telling you that it's been terribly disappointing to find myself at
demonstrations in recent months against some of our friends sitting here on the dais before
me. Political leaders we've been proud to work with and call friends. Visionaries who
understood that we all sink or swim together in this community.
Yet somehow, whatever it is that's infected the body politic in Wisconsin, in Ohio and in
New Jersey seems to have seeped into Montgomery County as well. Maybe it's a virus in the
water.
Let me suggest to you that the people who work for you - county employees and indeed all
public workers - are not the enemy. They're taxpayers and consumers and they're voters, too.
We need to work together to solve the common economic problems we face. If we do not, the
county will suffer, as will the workers and ultimately, you too will have to face the political
consequences.
@
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JL
July 12, 2011
Germantown, MD 20874
Tel. 301-529-0318
My name is Don Roose. My family and I have lived in Montgomery County for more than 30 years.
Working in Montgomery County/Child Protective Services, my professional background spans the last 50
years including international social welfare and as director of a national professional association.
local community.
After bloody struggles, the rights of the American worker to bargain for wages for work performed, for
benefits for that work performed and for their working conditions ----- that struggle and right were
earned by the American worker in the 1930s, and, as it happens, the decade I was born.
The name of
this key American value is called
"collective bargaining"
and this right has been with us for 80 years.
My
wife and I have both personal and investment property in this County. We are very much part of the
But let us be clear: if the worker does not have the right to strike when negotiations collapse or, in
the case of government employees, to appeal their failed negotiations to a neutral arbitrator, and if a
written contract mutually agreeing to Binding Arbitration can be cast aside, then what is left is a
"company union"
where the worker is left to come to the so-called negotiation table to
"meet and
beg." Not so incidentally, it is worth noting that well be/ore any arbitrator renders his/her decision,
this person and the process had been mutually agreed upon by both county and union.
All which means you either honor the final binding decision of the arbitrator; or, you give the county
employee the right to strike or, you do neither and in that case, at least have the decency to state to the
public that you too, are actively participating in the current parlor game in this nation: namely, to
destroy meaningful collective bargaining and turn employees to the mercy of the all-knowing boss who
always knows what is best for his workers.
Please, do not participate in a rogue arrangement which will fester employee discord and truly be a shell
of what is called employee
"harmony and morale."
Do not participate in gutting historical labor rights
by making millions of city, county, state and federal government employees second-class taxpayers and
demeaning the value of being a government worker in our country. Hundreds of thousands of public
workers have or are in the throes of losing their jobs and have no union recourse, adding yet another
layer of joblessness in America. What a way to run a railroad!
Montgomery County is better than that. Thank you.