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Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

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Negotiations and Contract Administration Unit:
The Negotiations and Contract Administration Unit is responsible for negotiating collective bargaining agreements, the process by which wages, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment for organized employees is established; training management representatives on the provisions of each collective bargaining agreement applicable to their agency; conducting “impact and effects” bargaining necessitated by new policies, programs and initiatives or changes to existing policies, programs and initiatives and responding to requests from management for advice and counsel on planned management action, prior to decision making and implementation.

Bargaining for Successor Agreement/Contract Negotiations:
Once PERB certifies a new bargaining unit management is required by law to engage in negotiations at the request of the exclusive representative.  If the new unit is not added to an existing compensation unit then both compensation negotiations as well as negotiations over terms and conditions must take place.  If PERB assigns a new unit to an existing compensation unit then the parties must bargain over when the terms of the existing compensation unit would apply to the new unit.  For existing compensation and terms and conditions units the parties engage in negotiations for successor agreements once timely notice is provided pursuant to contract or law.

Impact and Effects Bargaining:
Under provisions of the DC Code, bargaining is mandatory whenever a change in program or policy impacts employees’ working conditions. Even if it is the exercise of a management right, the union must be notified and provided an opportunity to participate in implementation and effects bargaining so that issues regarding the action may be communicated and addressed if possible. Bargaining must occur in a timely manner, and preferably, prior to the implementation of the change. These sessions are led by OLRCB attorneys who also draft official notices and respond to requests for bargaining and engage in correspondence with the unions and agencies as a result of complying with requests for implementation and effects bargaining.

Contract Administration:
Once the parties reach agreement in bargaining then the tentative agreement must be ratified by both the union membership and management.  Members covered by the agreement vote whether to accept its terms or reject them.  For working conditions agreements once the OAG declares the agreement legally sufficient the Mayor indicates his approval by signing it thus rendering it effective.   The Mayor has forty five days to approve it or it goes into effect automatically.  For compensation agreements, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is required to certify the existence of funds to support the agreement before the Mayor may submit the agreement to Council for action.  The Mayor is required to transmit all agreements to the Council within 60 days after the parties reach agreement.  The transmittal must include a budget request act, a supplemental budget request act, a budget amendment act, or a reprogramming, as appropriate.  Thirty calendar days (excluding days of Council recess) after the funding is enacted the agreement takes effect, unless prior to the thirtieth calendar day, the Council accepts or rejects the agreement, including an arbitrator’s award, by resolution.

CBA Approvals:
Once both labor and management have ratified the agreements OLRCB issues implementing instructions for affected agency management.  For non-compensation agreements the pertinent management personnel are sent the instructions which capture the changes to the contract and any salient issues that those at the agency should be aware of.  For compensation agreements the instructions are sent to the Office of Pay and Retirement Services (OPRS) to ensure that any wage increases are timely and properly implemented.

CBA Training:
In addition to issuing implementing instructions OLRCB then schedules training on the new contracts. The target audience for this training is managers and supervisors with responsibility for supervising employees covered by the agreement.

CBA Interpretation:
OLRCB attorneys assigned to given agencies field questions from their agencies concerning the interpretation of agreements. If the line attorney is unable to respond to the question then the supervising attorney for negotiations will handle the call.

Litigation Unit:
The Litigation Unit is focused on initiating, prosecuting, defending and monitoring a wide range of litigation activity, primarily for and on behalf of agencies under the personnel authority of the Mayor. It also supports and monitors litigation activity carried on by agencies with independent personnel authority (such as the University of the District of Columbia). This litigation activity consists primarily of grievance arbitrations, unfair labor practice complaints (ULPs), enforcement actions and arbitration review requests (ARRs) before the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) and Motions to Stay or Compel Arbitration or appeals from PERB Decisions and Orders in DC Superior Court. While not primarily responsible for this activity, the Unit also supports litigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in a limited number of civil complaints, filed by or on behalf of a union employee, in DC Superior Court and appellate matters before the DC Court of Appeals. Litigation activity also flows from Interest Arbitrations, Negotiability Appeals and similar actions that stem directly from the negotiation activity carried out by the OLRCB.

Find out more about the Litigation Unit