By Attorney Ann Smisek
Here are the steps and important dates for the recertification election process for collective bargaining agreements that expire June 30, 2019.
1. On August 27, 2018, the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will send emails notifying those public employers with a collective bargaining agreement scheduled to expire on June 30, 2019 that PERB intends to conduct a recertification election. The email (which will be sent to the employer's designated contact person or representative listed with PERB) will advise you to login to PERB's efiling system to download the notice: https://perb.iowa.gov/efiling/
2. The notice must be posted on bulletin boards where other employee notices are posted and distributed to employees by other means used by the employer to send employees notices (e.g., email, mailboxes, with paystubs). There will be a separate notice for each bargaining unit required to conduct an election.
3. NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 4, 2018 (the day after Labor Day), the employer must email PERB (firstname.lastname@example.org) an Excel spreadsheet with the following information about each employee in the collective bargaining unit: first name, last name, job classification, date of birth, last four digits of social security number, home address, work email address, personal email address (if known), work telephone (if available) and personal telephone number (if known).
Be sure to include all employees in each job classification listed in the PERB notice issued August 27. This is the official bargaining unit description and must be followed. A separate spreadsheet for each bargaining unit is required. A sample voter list information spreadsheet can be located here: https://iowaperb.iowa.gov/recertifications
4. After you email PERB the spreadsheet, you must inform the union that you provided the list. If you do not send the spreadsheet in by September 4, 2018, there will be no election and the union will be recertified automatically.
5. On September 19, 2018, PERB will send another email that will advise you to again login to its efiling system and download another election notice. This notice will have more information about the election and include voting instructions.
6. This notice must be posted on bulletin boards and circulated to employees in the bargaining unit. There will be a separate notice for each bargaining unit.
7. You must inform PERB if any new employees in the bargaining unit start working between September 4 and September 19.
8. Between the dates of October 15, 2018 and October 29, 2018, employees will be able to vote either online or by phone.
9. During the voting period, you must inform PERB if any employees stop working (terminations, resignations and retirements) between September 19 and October 29, 2018.
10. After the voting period expires, PERB will post tentative results.
There will then be a 10-day period where parties may challenge the results. If there are no pending challenges after the 10-day period, PERB will issue an order of decertification or recertification, depending on the vote results.
This notice will also need to be posted and circulated to employees.
What are the Do's and Don'ts during the election season?
- DO allow employees to vote during breaks if you generally allow employees to use work computers or phones during break time for other personal business.
- DO allow employees to vote during work time if you generally allow employees to minimally use work computers or phones during work time for other personal business.
- DO direct employees with questions to call PERB (515-281-4414) or visit PERB's webpage with FAQs about recertification elections: https://iowaperb.iowa.gov/notices-and-information/recertification-faqs
- DO NOT interfere with employees' rights to discuss the election.
- DO NOT discipline employees for exercising their right to vote.
- DO NOT try to answer questions about the election.
- DO NOT ask employees if they voted or how they voted.
- DO contact your labor relations counsel if employee campaigning activities or voting interferes with workplace operations.
- DO contact your labor relations counsel if the union approaches you about not sending in the voter list or inquires about extending the current contract.
What can you do now to get ready for the election?
- Go to https://www.iowaperb.org/Search. Search for your collective bargaining agreements. If any are missing or outdated, email current versions to PERB: email@example.com.
- Go to https://perb.iowa.gov/efiling/. Make sure you can login or get new login information. Make sure your contact information is correct, and the appropriate contact person is listed, so you receive PERB notices. Make sure all bargaining units are listed. If not, contact PERB.
- Start making your spreadsheet of employee information.
If you have any questions about this Client Alert, please contact any member of the Ahlers & Cooney Collective Bargaining/Labor Law Group.
About Ahlers & Cooney's Client Alerts
Our Client Alerts are intended to provide occasional general comments on new developments in Federal and State law and regulations which we believe might be of interest to our clients. The Client Alerts should not be considered opinions of Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., and are not intended to provide legal advice as a substitute for seeking professional counsel. Readers should not under any circumstance act upon the information in this publication without seeking specific professional counsel. Ahlers & Cooney will be pleased to provide additional details regarding any article upon request. Additional copies of this Client Alert may be obtained by contacting any attorney in the Firm or by visiting the Firm's website at www.ahlerslaw.com. ©2018 Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. All Rights Reserved.
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