Association of Oregon Corrections Employees v. State of Oregon, Department of Corrections

213 Or. App. 648, 164 P.3d 291 (2007)

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Association of Oregon Corrections Employees v. State of Oregon, Department of Corrections

Oregon Court of Appeals
213 Or. App. 648, 164 P.3d 291 (2007)

Facts

After Oregon’s new governor took office, revenue forecasts predicted a major budget shortfall for the 2003–2005 biennium. The governor’s budget proposal froze all state employees’ salaries for the biennium. Once the legislature approved the budget, the service employees’ union that represented the most state employees quickly negotiated a collective-bargaining agreement that froze wages but gave each employee a one-time $350 “workload adjustment” payment. When the union head expressed concern that other unions might obtain better contract terms, a state administrator said the state would take the same position with all the unions. The Association of Oregon Corrections Employees (AOCE) and Oregon State Police Officers’ Association (OSPOA) (plaintiffs) fared similarly for employees of the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) and Oregon State Police (OSP) (defendants). Over the next year, AOCE and DOC participated in seven collective-bargaining sessions and four mediation sessions and agreed on some issues, but not the salary freeze. DOC’s final offer proposed a 24-month freeze. The parties submitted last best offers to an arbitrator, who selected DOC’s offer. Negotiations between OSPOA and OSP likewise resulted in a two-year salary freeze. The two unions filed unfair-labor-practice charges alleging the state agencies engaged in surface bargaining in violation of Oregon’s Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA). The Oregon Employment Relations Board dismissed the complaints. Both unions appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wollheim, J.)

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