Friday, May 22, 2009

Fourth DCA Reverses Decision on Unfair Labor Practices Charge

In School District of Martin County, Florida (4D08-1964) the Fourth District reversed the Circuit Court's decision relating to the manner of distribution of funds for classroom items to teachers.

The union filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that "the School District violated section 447.501(a) and (c), Florida Statutes (2007), by failing to bargain its decision to distribute FTLP funds to teachers through Visa debit cards, in lieu of distribution through traditional check."

"The Commission’s construction of the statute in this case was clearly erroneous because the 2008 statutory amendments unequivocally expressed that the method of distribution does not affect a term or condition of employment. While the Florida Constitution provides that an employer may not abridge an employee’s right to collectively bargain, it has left it up to the legislature to define what subjects are matters of collective bargaining. In exercising this right, the legislature defined mandatory subjects of collective bargaining as those that affect a term or condition of employment. § 1012.71, Fla. Stat. (2007). With the 2008 statutory amendments, the legislature further expressed that the method of distributing FTLP funds did not affect a term or condition of employment and thus, was not a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. § 1012.71(3), Fla. Stat. (2008). This clear expression of legislative intent demonstrates that the Commission’s decision to the contrary is clearly erroneous."


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