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Decisions and Orders Digest for 2001


PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION vs. STATE OF ALASKA, Decision & Order No. 253 (04/25/2001). The Agency will order the parties to arbitrate the arbitrability of their dispute where their collective bargaining agreement contains a broad clause granting jurisdiction over the arbitrability issue to the arbitrator, and no other contract clause creates an exception for the dispute at issue.

ALASKA STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, AFSCME LOCAL 52, AFL-CIO vs. STATE OF ALASKA, Decision & Order No. 254 (04/25/2001). The Agency will not compel the parties to arbitration over the firearms policy at the Department of Corrections. The Alaska Supreme Court has held that establishment and implementation of firearms policy for probation and parole officers is the statutory responsibility of the Commissioner of Corrections.
The Agency will compel the parties to arbitration over documents related to psychological testing of probation and parole officers, and whether those documents are "secret files" under Article 34 of the collective bargaining agreement, or are properly excluded from personnel files.

PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, AFL-CIO vs. STATE OF ALASKA, Decision & Order No. 255 (07/25/2001). 1. Legal indemnification is a mandatory subject of bargaining. 2. AS 23.40.210 requires that all collective bargaining agreements include a grievance procedure that culminates in binding arbitration. AS 23.40.210 does not require that all mandatory subjects of bargaining must be subject to the parties' grievance-arbitration procedure. Decision Appealed: Public Safety Employees Association vs. State of Alaska, Decision and Order No. 255 ( July 25, 2001). Public Safety Employees Association appealed Agency decision and order to Superior Court in case number 3 AN-01-10051-CI on August 23, 2001. Superior Court REVERSED Agency decision and order in case number 3 AN-01-10051-CI on June 24, 2002. On July 21, 2002 the Superior Court issued an Order granting the motion of Appellee State of Alaska to stay the decision and order dated June 24, 2002, pending appeal. On June 25, 2004, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its Opinion No. 5823 stating that “Because legal indemnification is a mandatory subject of bargaining, it must be subject to the grievance-arbitration procedure of the public employee's contract with the state. However, because unions have broad discretion to negotiate in the interest of their members, PSEA can waive the right to grieve even a mandatory subject of bargaining. We therefore REVERSE the decision of the superior court and AFFIRM the decision of the Alaska Labor Relations Agency.”

FAIRBANKS FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION LOCAL 1324, IAFF vs. CITY OF FAIRBANKS, Decision & Order No. 256 (10/17/2001). A statement by the employer’s negotiator, during collective bargaining negotiations, that the employer will refuse to fund an arbitrator's award if the arbitrator finds in the union's favor, is a violation of AS 23.40.110(a)(5) and (a)(1).  The statement is even more significant when it is part of a pattern of conduct involving the City’s statements about the Fairbanks Fire Fighters Association and non-funding of arbitration awards.  The Agency has previously ordered the City of Fairbanks to “cease and desist from the routine, strategic use of the arbitrability defense and from the use of the statement reserving the right not to fund arbitration awards in correspondence pertaining to grievances.”  Fairbanks Fire Fighters Association, Local 1324, IAFF v. City of Fairbanks, Decision and Order No. 221, at 19 (June 25, 1997).  It is insignificant that one non-funding statement dealt with grievance arbitration awards and the other with an interest arbitration award.2 When an employer makes statements of this nature before arbitration occurs and before it has had an opportunity to consider the arbitration award, it is evidence of bad faith and coercion. Decision Appealed: Fairbanks Fire Fighters Association, Local 1324, IAFF vs. City of Fairbanks, Decision & Order No. 256 (October 17, 2001). City of Fairbanks appealed Agency decision and order to Superior Court in case number 4FA-01-2607-CI on November 16, 2001. City of Fairbanks filed Motion to Dismiss Appeal with Superior Court was granted May 31, 2002.

SOUTHWEST REGION SCHOOL DISTRICT vs. SOUTHWEST REGION EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, NEA-ALASKA, Decision and Order No. 257 (December 19, 2001).  The duty to bargain in good faith is bilateral.  In determining whether an accused party has committed an unfair labor practice, the charging party’s conduct will also be considered.  The totality of the parties’ conduct negates a finding that the Southwest Region Education Association committed an unfair labor practice.

Footnote:2Fire protection employees are class (a)(1) employees whose services may not be given up for even the shortest period of time.  Because they do not have the right to strike, AS 23.40.200(b)(1) provides that “If an impasse or deadlock is reached in collective bargaining between the public employer and employees in this class, and mediation has been utilized without resolving the deadlock, the parties shall submit to arbitration to be carried out under AS 09.43.030.”




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