Presentation by Robert E. Larkin, III Allen, Norton & Blue, P.A.

Robert E. Larkin III, Esquire
Allen, Norton & Blue, P.A.
906 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32303
(850) 561-3503
February 15, 2013
•Overview of the Public Sector Collective Bargaining
Process in Florida;
•Considerations in creating a Bargaining Team;
•Developing goals and proposals to meet those goals;
•Concept of bargaining and strategies for achieving
•Communications between the Bargaining Team and the
City Council (Legislative Body);
•How the Impasse Resolution Process works.
City Manager is generally the CEO – F.S.
447.203(2); (Mayor may also be CEO);
City Council or Mayor is the Public Employer –
F.S. 447.203 (9);
City Council is always the Legislative Body – F.S.
447.203 (10);
 City Manager/Mayor is responsible for all aspects of
bargaining, including the declaration of impasse.
 City Council is responsible for resolving the impasse.
Who should be on the Team?
Selecting the right members
 Finance Director
 Human Resources Professionals
 Individuals
who know the difference between
Mandatory and Permissive Subjects of Bargaining
 Individuals who know what a waiver is and whether
bargaining proposals can be imposed.
Who should NOT be on the Team?
City Manager or Mayor?
Fire Chief/Police Chief?
Strong Personalities!
Who else?
Reaching out to the
Union Representative – Credibility
Purpose of the Team
 Performs necessary research for formulation of
economic proposals (salary/benefit studies, etc);
 Gathers input and formulates bargaining
proposals /counter-proposals;
 Liaison between Mayor/City Manager and Union
and Mayor/City Manager and City Council;
 Represents the employer in contract
negotiations, through impasse if necessary;
 Facilitates contract ratification and
implementation process.
What is my current relationship
with the union?
Where are we in the bargaining
• Reopeners or
• Entire Agreement
Long Term Goals
Short Term Goals
Economic v. Operational Issues
Mandatory Subjects of Bargaining:
 Wages, Hours and Terms and Conditions of Employment
Permissive Subjects of Bargaining
What is a Management Right and Impact
What is a Waiver? Can it be imposed?
Reaching out to the Union Representative
Credibility of Negotiator – Paramount!
Executive Sessions
What is an Executive Session?
 Outside the Sunshine (Shade Meeting)
Permitted by Law – F.S. 447.605
 Meeting between Bargaining Team
and Legislative Body.
Why have an executive session?
When should you have an executive session?
Executive Sessions
Help Council understand the bargaining
Inform Council of Bargaining Strategies
and goals.
Ongoing dialogue through bargaining process
of bargaining status.
Inform Council of changes in Union
Executive Sessions
Prepare Council for Union Discord and/or
Impasse Resolution Process;
Receive Feedback / Address Concerns
 Gauge vote – more than just head nodding;
 Providing documents – must retrieve them.
Executive Sessions
Prepare Council for Questions / Media
Deference to Mayor/City Manager in
Operational Decisions – Mayor and Manager
should be given deference on all non-economic
Public Meetings
All Bargaining Sessions Must be “in the
Sunshine” – 447.605(2) Florida Statutes
Must either take Minutes or Tape the Sessions.
 Defense to ULP of Bad Faith Bargaining;
 Use in Arbitrations/ULP for CBA language clarity.
Establish Ground Rules
Who will speak at the table?
 Responding to questions
 Making statements of position
 Engaging in arguments
Consider gag order for new members until a
certain number of sessions have been conducted
Length and times of meetings.
Formulating Proposals
Who Drafts the Proposals?
Why does it matter?
Concept of “taking ground”
 Negotiate non-economic issues first!
 Impact of unclear language (Ex. Discourteous and
unprofessional conduct)
Creating Issues to effectuate outcome
Framing the negotiations.
Bargaining Proposals and Information
relating to bargain strategies is
confidential and exempt from Chapter 119 F.S. F.S. 447.605(3):
“All work products developed by the public employer in preparation
for negotiations and during negotiations shall be confidential and
exempt from the provisions of Chapter 119.07(1).”
Does not remove budget or fiscal information;
Does not remove proposals made at bargaining table;
Does not remove attorney bills for bargaining and negotiations;
Does not remove what you send outside of the bargaining team.
Advance Copies
Be Careful with e-mails to Union!
Provide Union Representative:
 Chance to evaluate proposals to make
session more productive;
 Chance for Union Rep to spin proposal to union
 Opportunity to gauge position and develop
counter proposals.
Packaging Proposals
Operational vs. Economic –
Generally non-controversial issues
Permissive Subjects and Waivers
– generally packaged with
economic proposals.
What Articles should be revised,
deleted or included?
Packaging Proposals
Reasons to exclude subjects?
(i.e., Evaluations, Discipline, Promotions, Hiring
REMEMBER: Law does not require Public
Employer to Agree to anything except Union
Dues and Grievance and Arbitration
Parties meet and confer at
reasonable times and places (not a set number)
Bargaining during working time – Union Leave
Proposals are exchanged (not a set number)
Tentative agreements reached subject to full and
final agreement (TA’s can be dependent).
Ideal Outcome: Final contract reached and
ratified by Union and County Commission.
Pension Reform;
3% Retirement Case Decided – impact
on wage increases;
Furloughs and Layoffs;
Wage Compression among classes
(wage increases vs. fixing pay structure);
Leave Buy Backs and Caps;
Union Stewards;
Bifurcation of Arbitrability issues.
Take Home Vehicles (Police)– use and
cost issues (PERC held is a Mandatory
Subject of Bargaining);
“Me Too” Clauses with pay and benefits;
Outside Employment issues;
Physical Fitness and Wellness
Educational Reimbursements;
Certification or Senior Officer Pay;
Grooming Issues (Ex. Tattoos).
Concept: Permits Public Employer to open
existing CBA and make changes in the event
of a Financial Urgency;
Distinguish Financial Emergency under F.S.
Financial Urgency - F.S. 447.3095 Permits:
CEO declares to Union.
Parties required to meet and bargain over
the impact of financial urgency.
If no agreement, impasse is deemed.
Parties proceed to impasse over financial
urgency articles – City Council Implements.
When All Else Fails …
Strategic and
Practical Considerations
Timing of declaration and budget
 Who declares and why?
Impasse process to resolution
 Special Magistrate Hearing.
Number of issues at impasse
Controversial nature of the issue(s).
Executive sessions before impasse.
 Insulated period issues after SM Recommendation!
Council resolves impasse and imposes final position!
 Impasse concerns between Council and Mayor/City
Thank You!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email
me at:
[email protected]