Page 19 - February 2021
P. 19

time, in part because the City maintained that it did not have an obligation to bargain with the FOP over the effects of the increase in time.
In mid-July 2019, the City announced at a bargaining ses- sion that it would implement the January 2019 last, best and final offer. The union responded that the parties had not com- pleted bargaining — not only on the effects of the body-worn cameras, but also on several matters relating to officers’ safety and discipline. One of my partners, Laura Finnegan, who rep- resented the FOP in front of the ALJ and attended these bar- gaining sessions, reminded the City of its legal obligations to do so — all to no avail.
Section 2 of the act provides that where the right of employ- ees to strike is prohibited by law, the act provides for alternate procedures to resolve labor disputes. To that extent, since po- lice officers do not have the right to strike in Illinois, all dis- putes regarding the contract must be negotiated until there is a final agreement or until the parties resolve their differences through the interest-arbitration process. In other words, even if the City and the union were at an impasse with regard to the effects bargaining, since police officers do not have the right to strike, the City cannot implement a last, best and final of- fer. If the City were able to unilaterally implement such offers, those instances would provide employees who cannot strike fewer rights than those employees who can strike. As the ALJ bluntly noted in her decision, “It would ... impermissibly shift the balance of power in favor of the employer.” Therefore, the ALJ found that the City violated the act when it implemented its last, best and final offer.
The ALJ also determined that the City must rescind imple-
mentation of the final offer, and instead is required to follow the impasse resolution procedures applicable to police of- ficers. Nevertheless, the ALJ agreed that the City, under the terms of the now-expired contract, is permitted to discipline officers for the loss of body-worn cameras. However, the Union must have the opportunity to request a rescission and reconsideration of the disciplinary decisions imposed by the City’s last, best and final offer.
Likewise, the ALJ went on to note that the City impermis- sibly implemented an increase in the buffering time without bargaining the effects of that change. The decision to increase the buffering time itself is not a mandatory subject of bargain- ing. However, the effects of that increase, including discipline, safety and privacy, are mandatory subjects of bargaining. The remedy for the City’s unilateral implementation of the buff- ering time was limited to a bargaining order. In other words, the ALJ ordered the City to bargain the effects of the increase in the buffering time with the FOP. This should result in the parties returning to the bargaining table.
Not surprisingly, the City has indicated that it is going to file exceptions in this matter. Exceptions are a type of appeal to the full Local Board, so this matter is not yet resolved. Even on appeal, the Lodge remains confident that the ALJ’s decision will be upheld. As with the other charges filed by the FOP (too numerous to list), the City fails to understand (or accept) its obligation to bargain with the Lodge over the impact any new policy will have on bargaining unit members. Until the City begins to comply with the law, the Lodge will be prepared to take any necessary action to protect our members.

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