The need to provide employee organization(s) with advance notice and an opportunity to “meet and confer” is triggered any time the management of a department or sub-unit of a department plans to make a workplace change, and that change is likely to affect represented employees in some manner, even if the represented employees have agreed to the change. Workplace changes include issues involving wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Some examples of common situations that would trigger the need to notify employee organizations and meet and confer if requested, include the following:
- Establishing or adjusting a departmental sick leave policy
- Example: Management would like to implement a rule that all employees in the unit bring in a doctor’s note whenever they call in sick on a Friday or a Monday.
- Changing a unit’s working hours
- Example: Management would like to change the “closing time” of an office from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. two days per week.
- Establishing or adjusting an alternative work schedule
- Example: Management wants to establish a 9/80 workweek in place of the traditional 40-hour workweek as a means to better service its customers.
- Establishing or adjusting performance standards
- Example: Management wants to establish standards for the quality or quantity of work to be performed.
Not all changes trigger meet and confer obligations. The County’s Employer-Employee & Labor Relations Policy states that “the County retains the exclusive right to determine the methods, means, and personnel by which County government operations are to be conducted.” Decisions to make these types of changes are not subject to meet and confer. However, the County is still required to notify the union(s) of the change and meet and confer over the impact of the change.
For example, a change in your computer system has the result of certain employees being required to enter and write their own reports, replacing the old method of support staff doing this work for them. While the computer change itself does not require notice to employee organizations, the impact the change may have on those employees being required to enter their own data and write reports does require notice to employee organizations.
While the above examples are helpful, they are not exhaustive. Departments should contact their Employee & Labor Relations representative for guidance any time a change is contemplated.