Posts tagged "Relations"

Commissioner of Administration and Finance v. Commonwealth Employment Relations Board, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-076-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12208   COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE  vs.  COMMONWEALTH EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD & another.[1]       Suffolk.     January 5, 2017. – May 12, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Commonwealth Employment Relations Board.  Labor, Unfair labor practice, Duty to bargain.  Commonwealth, Financial matters, Collective bargaining.       Appeal from a decision of the Division of Labor Relations.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Robert L. Quinan, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, for the plaintiff. Jane Gabriel for the defendant. Alan H. Shapiro (John M. Becker also present) for the intervener. Mathew D. Jones, for Massachusetts Teachers Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     LOWY, J.  In June, 2010, near the height of the global economic downturn that became known as the Great Recession, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance (Secretary) submitted to the Legislature a request for an appropriation to fund collective bargaining agreements between the Commonwealth and two public employee unions reached more than thirteen months earlier.  In the letter containing the request, the Secretary informed the Legislature that several similar requests for salary increases had been rejected by the Legislature; that attempts to renegotiate the agreements with the unions had failed; and that approval of the request would require renegotiating several other collective bargaining agreements that the Legislature had already approved. The unions both filed a charge of prohibited practice with the Department of Labor Relations (department), arguing, in essence, that the letter was a violation of the Commonwealth’s purported duty to support an appropriation’s request pursuant to G. L. c. 150E, § 7 (b), and also that the letter constituted a failure to bargain in good faith, in violation of G. L. c. 150E, § 10 (a) (5).  In January, 2014, a hearing officer with the department agreed with the unions and found that the Commonwealth had violated its § 7 (b) duty and had committed a prohibited practice under § 10 (a) (5) by failing to bargain in good faith.  The Commonwealth Employment Relations Board (board)[2] affirmed, the Commonwealth appealed from the decision, and we transferred the case to this court on our own motion. We reverse the board’s decision and conclude that the Secretary’s inclusion of information about the anticipated fiscal effects of a legislative decision to fund […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 13, 2017 at 4:37 am

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City of Somerville, et al. v. Commonwealth Employment Relations Board, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-016-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11620   CITY OF SOMERVILLE & another[1]  vs.  COMMONWEALTH EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD & others.[2] Suffolk.     November 3, 2014. – February 3, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     School and School Committee, Retirement benefits, Group insurance, Collective bargaining.  Municipal Corporations, Group insurance, Collective bargaining.  Retirement.  Public Employment, Retirement benefits, Collective bargaining.  Insurance, Group.       Appeal from a decision of the Division of Labor Relations.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Matthew J. Buckley, Assistant City Solicitor, for the plaintiffs. T. Jane Gabriel for the defendant. Laurie R. Houle, Ira Fader, Colin R. Confoey, & Jason Powalisz for the interveners, submitted a brief.     SPINA, J.  At issue in this case is whether the city of Somerville (city) and the school committee of Somerville (school committee) violated G. L. c. 150E, § 10 (a) (5), and, derivatively, G. L. c. 150E, § 10 (a) (1), when the city unilaterally reduced its percentage contribution to retired employees’ health insurance premiums without engaging in collective bargaining over the matter with current employees.[3]  We conclude that the city and the school committee did not violate these statutory provisions.  Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board (board), which reached a contrary conclusion. 1.  Statutory framework.  Our resolution of the present dispute is based on the interplay between G. L. c. 150E and G. L. c. 32B.  General Laws c. 150E, § 2, protects the rights of public employees to self-organization and collective bargaining.  Pursuant to G. L. c. 150E, § 6, “[t]he employer and the exclusive representative . . . shall negotiate in good faith with respect to wages, hours, standards [of] productivity and performance, and any other terms and conditions of employment . . . .”  General Laws c. 150E, § 10, states, in relevant part: “(a) It shall be a prohibited practice for a public employer or its designated representative to:   “(1) Interfere, restrain, or coerce any employee in the exercise of any right guaranteed under this chapter;   “. . .   “(5) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the exclusive representative as required in section six . . . .”   “Under the Home Rule Amendment, art. 89, § 6, of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, municipalities of the Commonwealth may choose to provide health insurance coverage to their […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

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