I came across this decision from the Public Employment Relations Board yesterday regarding the Village of Valatie and the United Public Service Employee’s Union. PERB decisions generally don’t get a lot of attention from the media, so I though it prudent to post it here.
I know this isn’t really “food and fun” related, as is the general aim of this blog, but I’m very passionate about employee rights and didn’t want this to go unnoticed, for what it’s worth.
I don’t live in the village proper, and I’m not exactly sure what village employees are covered by the UPSEU. According to the UPSEU, they represent “ … registered nurses, social workers, clerical employees, operations and maintenance employees, food service workers, librarians and library support personnel, educational classroom aides/monitors/assistants, transportation employees, probation officers, police officers, crossing guards, social welfare examiners, laborers and motor equipment operators, to name a few.”
The UPSEU posted a press release regarding the decision, stating
UPSEU Labor Relations Representative Michael P. Kutski filed a charge because the Village refused to provide unit negotiation information and they failed to respond to numerous requests to set dates to commence contract negotiations. “It was obvious they didn’t want to deal with us,” said Kutski.
Shortly following Kutski’s filing of the charge, PERB held a pre-hearing conference at their office wherein the Village failed to appear for the conference and failed to file an answer to the charge as required by law. The Village also went so far as to blatantly ignore the voicemail messages from the PERB Administrative Law Judge.”
The text of the decision, PERB case no. U-32140, follows:
DECISION OF DIRECTOR
On August 31, 2012, the United Public Service Employees Union (Union) filed an
improper practice charge alleging, as amended, that the Village of Valatie (Village)
violated §209-a.1(d) of the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act (Act) when it
ignored two requests to commence collective negotiations and did not respond to a request for information necessary and relevant thereto.
The village: (1) did not file an answer to the charges as required by § 204.3 of the Rules of Procedure; (2) did not file a notice of appearance; (3) did not attend the pre-hearing conference; (4) did not respond to two voice mail messages left by the conferencing administrative law judge; and (4) did not file a written explanation for its failure to appear at the conference as directed by the conferencing administrative law judge.
The conferencing administrative law judge advised the parties that, given the above omissions by the Village, it is appropriate to invoke the discretion granted in § 204.3 of the RUles to deem admitted the material facts of the charge, as follows: The Union repeatedly telephoned the Village to commence collective negotiations and sent the Village a request for information allegedly necessary and relevant to commence negotiations and a letter demanding negotiations. The Village did not reply to any of the Union’s requests.
The Village’s refusal to respond to multiple demands to commence negotiations and a demand to provide information necessary and relevant to those negotiations violations violate § 209-a.1(d) of the Act.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Village:
1. Cease and desist from refusing to negotiate with the Union;
2. Forthwith provide the information requested by the Union; adn
3. Sign and post the attached notice at all physical and electronic locations ordinarily used by the Village to communicate with unit employees.
/s Monte Klein, Director, Public Employment Practices and Representation. Dated January 18, 2013.
The attached Notice To All Employees requires the Village to negotiate with the UPSEU-represented employees and to provide the information requested.