Senate President Sweeney with Senators Addiego and Greenstein, recently introduced S-3810 known as the “Responsible Collective Negotiations Act” to provide additional worker safeguards in response to the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME ruling. While several provisions of the bill do build upon the “Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act” there are several troubling provisions that expand and change the nature of collective negotiations with all public unions, except police and fire, that are extremely troubling.
First, the bill expands the items that would become mandatory subjects during contract negotiations unless a negotiated agreement would prevent the government from carrying out its statutory mission. Items would include “all matters that intimately and directly affect the work and welfare of public employees” including but not limited to layoffs; subcontracting and privatization; criteria and procedures for promotions, performance evaluations and hiring; transfer of employees; assignments and reassignment of employees; transfer of negotiations unit of work; and job security, discipline disputes, and disciplinary review procedures. This new provision will effectively remove managing from management by adding previous management prerogative items to mandatory negotiations.
Secondly, the bill would mandate that grievance and disciplinary review procedures must provide for binding arbitration as a means for resolving disputes involving subjects for collective negotiation which include the areas listed above. Removing the ability to negotiate with unions how matters are handled removes previously negotiated items from the process.
The bill would treat the communications between the union and its members regarding collective negotiations, administration of collective negotiations agreements, investigation of grievances, other workplace-related complaints, and issues, or any other matters within the scope of the duty of fair representation as confidential communications. Further, such communications would not be subject to disclosure under the discovery rules of New Jersey administrative agencies, including, but not limited to the Office of Administrative Law and PERC or pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-17, and other applicable state laws authorizing arbitrators, presiding at labor arbitrations, issuing subpoenas. Public employers’ communication would remain disclosable, failing to provide public employers those same rights and creating an unleveled playing field.
The bill now stands at second reading in the Senate. We anticipate the Assembly companion, A-5862, to be before Assembly Appropriations Committee soon. We urge you to contact your Senator and Assembly representative to urge them to vote no.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Assistant Executive Director, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x112.