Under the collective bargaining law, the OPBA provides full representation at all levels of bargaining and, in addition, assumes all costs in connection with bargaining.
Under the collective bargaining law, there may be numerous bargaining units within any law enforcement agency: (1) a patrolmen’s unit, (2) a unit comprised of officers holding the ranks of sergeant or above, (3) civilian personnel, (4) dispatchers, and (5) corrections officers.
Bargaining under the law contemplates five separate stages: (1) face-to-face negotiations with the employer, (2) mediation, (3) fact-finding, (4a) binding impasse arbitration for police, deputies, dispatchers and correction officers and (4b) the right to strike for civilian personnel, and (5) court action in the form of an appeal from an arbitration award.
Each of these stages has its own costs. For example, in fact-finding, the union is required to pay one-half of the costs involved. The daily allowable rate for the members of the fact-finding panel is currently $950. In binding impasse arbitration, under the statute, the union is required to pay one-half of the total costs, again including the arbitrator’s fee.
The OPBA will pay all costs associated with bargaining.
The OPBA will provide an attorney or business agent before the first level of bargaining to assist the bargaining unit in both framing its demands and preparing appropriate contract language. The OPBA representative will continue throughout all levels of the bargaining process. Thus, an OPBA negotiator will attend each meeting with the employer and the unit’s bargaining committee and every meeting at each level of bargaining identified above.
Under the law and under appropriate circumstances, an unfair labor practice charge can be filed against an employer. If, for example, an employer refuses to bargain in good faith, a “refusal to bargain” charge can and will be filed by the OPBA before the SERB in Columbus. An OPBA attorney will prepare and file all charges and attend and represent the interests of the bargaining unit at the hearing. The OPBA will also defend against any charges filed against a bargaining unit by the employer.