By: Attorney Aaron Hilligas
I. Categories of Representation: Public Safety Employee and Non-Public Safety Employee Bargaining Units
The modification of Chapter 20 creates different bargaining rights for Public Safety Employee units and Non-Public Safety Employee units. Public Safety Employee bargaining units have much broader bargaining rights than Non-Public Safety Employee units under the new law. In order to qualify as a Public Safety Employee bargaining unit, Public Safety Employees must make up AT LEAST 30% of the employees in the bargaining unit. Under the changes to Chapter 20, a Public Safety Employee is defined as:
- A sheriff's regular deputy.
- A marshal or police officer of a city, township, or special-purpose district or authority who is a member of a paid police department.
- A member, except a non-peace officer member, of the division of state patrol, narcotics enforcement, state fire marshal, or criminal investigation, including but not limited to a gaming enforcement officer, who has been duly appointed by the department of public safety in accordance with section 80.15.
- A conservation officer or park ranger as authorized by section 456A.13.
- A permanent or full-time fire fighter of a city, township, or special-purpose district or authority who is a member of a paid fire department.
- A peace officer designated by the department of transportation under section 321.477 who is subject to mandated law enforcement training.
Also, the provisions related to Public Safety Employees shall be applicable on the same terms and to the same degree to any transit employee if it is determined by the director of the department of transportation upon written confirmation from the United States Department of Labor, that a public employer would lose funding under 49 U.S.C. §5333(b), also known as section 13(c) of the Federal Transit Act, if the transit employee is not covered under certain collective bargaining rights.
II. The New Scope of Bargaining Under Chapter 20
The modification of Chapter 20 continues to utilize the Mandatory, Prohibited, and Permissive classifications for subjects of bargaining. (Mandatory subjects of bargaining must be negotiated with a certified bargaining representative/employee organization; prohibited subjects of bargaining cannot be negotiated with the certified representative; and permissive subjects may be negotiated with the certified bargaining representative, but only if the parties mutually agree to do so.) But the modification of Chapter 20 significantly changed what is included in the scope of each category depending on whether the bargaining relates to a Public Safety Employee or Non-Public Safety Employee unit. The scope of bargaining for each bargaining unit category is summarized below:
|Type of Unit||Mandatory||Prohibited||Permissive|
Public Safety Employees bargaining unit
(If Public Safety Employees make up AT LEAST 30% of the bargaining unit)
||"Other matters mutually agreed to"|
Non-Public Safety Employees bargaining unit
(If Public Safety Employees make up LESS THAN 30% of the bargaining unit)
"Other matters mutually agreed to"
Given the significant changes made to Chapter 20, there are some new ambiguities with respect to what is included or excluded in certain categories such as "base wages" and "supplemental pay." We expect that the precise scope of those categories will eventually be clarified via the applicable administrative and legal processes, but in the interim you should contact counsel for guidance.
For any further questions, please contact the Ahlers & Cooney Collective Bargaining/Labor Law Practice Group.
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Van Heukelem, Miriam