State Finds Evidence to Support Union Claims Against Broadwater County
On August 20, 2018, Erin Foley filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Broadwater County, on behalf of Teamsters Union with the Board of Personnel Affairs. The charge alleges the Broadwater County Commissioners, by their conduct, failed to bargain in good faith with the Sheriff's Office employees.
After concluding the investigation into the allegations against Broadwater County, the Montana Board of Personnel Appeals, finds "evidence does exist to support the unfair labor practice complaint”. The lead investigator, David Luckey, recommends the Board issue a notice of hearing in the case against Broadwater County.
In the Investigative Report report, Luckey acknowledges multiple grievances have been filed by the Union against Broadwater County since April 2012. In the 2012 case, the Board ruled in the Union's favor; forcing the County to give a wage increase to the Union employees.
Again in 2014, an arbitration was scheduled for hearing. The Union alleged a sergeant at the Sheriff's Office was incorrectly compensated in accordance with state law. That grievance was also settled in the Union's favor, resulting in an increase to the Sheriff's base compensation and consistent application of statute.
Based on the history of past grievances against the County, according to the report, the current charges against the County “should not be considered first-time occurrences.”
Luckey reports that in his findings the “County's failure to provide the information in a timely manner, or failing to provide information at all,” and the “fact that the process was effectively held up by the County's failure to provide a single proposal until the 5th negotiating session, provides sufficient evidence to establish the fact that the County again interfered with the collective bargaining process.”
Erin Foley, Teamster’s Union representative said, “the consistent nature of our dealings with Broadwater County is that we have to legally do something in order to get them to work with us.”
The Board will schedule a hearing and both parties will present all the evidence and documentation to support their claim. The Board will then make a ruling. “In the meantime”, says Foley, “ this should help pressure the County into getting back to the bargaining table to get a deal done.” According to Foley, if the County makes movement and “actually bargains in good faith, the Union could potentially drop the charges”.
The full investigative report can be found on the Broadwater Reporter's website @ www.broadwaterreporter.com.