AFSCME Council 75 v. City of Portland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 01-27-2016
  • Case #: A152795
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J., pro tempore for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

If an unfair labor practice complaint is filed under ORS 243.672(1)(b) based on a charge that an employer has “changed the status quo” with regard to the processing of grievances, including the practice of document transmittal, then the Employment Relations Board must review whether the change is a per se mandatory subject of bargaining.

AFSCME (Union) appealed a decision by the Employment Relations Board (ERB) which dismissed the Union’s complaint for an unfair labor practice (ULP) against the City of Portland (City). The Union’s complaint alleged that the City had committed a ULP by imposing mandatory fees for transmitting documents related to a grievance—a change in the status quo of handling grievance procedures—without engaging in collective bargaining with the Union—the ERB determined that the imposition of fees was a permissive subject, and therefore the City was not required to engage in collective bargaining. Further, the Union argued that the ERB had abused its discretion by imposing a civil penalty of only $200 against the City for interfering with a timely response to the grievance, in violation of ORS 243.672(1)(b). On appeal, the Court reviewed the text and intent of Oregon PECBA, and determined that Springfield Education Assn. v. School Dist., 290 Or 217 (1980) was dispositive in this case, in that grievance-related subjects may be a per se mandatory subject of bargaining. Consequently, because the City failed to bargain on the change of the grievance-related procedures of document transmittal, the Court reversed the ERB’s decision. Further, the Court held that the ERB’s imposition of $200 was not an abuse of discretion. Reversed in part, affirmed in part.

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