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The Supervisor’s Toolbox: Management Rights, Communication, Discipline and the Represented Workforce

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Public Agency
CATEGORY: Employment Law, Public Agency

Public sector employee supervision is complex and challenging.  Supervisors must exercise judgment and discretion, but must be aware of limitations on authority.  State and federal laws impose many of those limitations.  Rules, policies and ordinances adopted by the agency, and collective bargaining agreements, raise other limitations.  The duty to meet and confer over changes to conditions of employment also limits supervisors’ discretion.

This workbook discusses supervisors’ discretionary rights and legal obligations, with particular focus on the unionized workplace in which employees are represented by an employee organization in their relationship with the employer.  It is imperative that supervisors understand management rights – and the distinct limitations on that concept – as well as collective bargaining, effective communication methods, disciplinary due process applicable to public employees, and appropriate techniques for responding to grievances.  In our experience representing public agencies, these issues present the greatest challenges faced by supervisors in carrying out their job responsibilities.

Topics Include:

  • The Discretion to Manage
    • Management Rights Clause
    • The First Line Supervisor’s Role
  • Management Rights Doctrine
    • Management’s Right to Operate Efficiently
    • Management’s Communication with Employees About Union Membership
    • Management’s Right to Discipline
  • Protected Union Activity and Organizing
    • Achieving Majority Support
    • Permissible vs. Unlawful Activity During Organizing
    • Union and Employee Rights Upon Recognition
    • Union Responsibilities
  • An Employee’s Right to Representation
    • Representation in an Investigatory Interview (Weingarten Rights)
    • Representation in a Grievance Meeting
    • Representation in an Interactive Process Meeting
    • Right to Refuse Membership
  • Labor Negotiations and the First-Line Supervisor
    • The Labor Negotiations Process
    • Enforcing the Labor Agreement: First-Line Supervisors
    • The Relationship Between Supervisor and Union Representative
  • The Grievance Process
    • What is a Grievance?
    • What is a Grievance Procedure?
    • Grievance Procedures Require Support and Commitment to Be Successful
    • Checklist on How to Avoid Grievances
    • Processing the Grievance
    • Important Follow-Up Steps After the Grievance Meeting
    • The Written Response to the Grievant
    • The Appeal and Arbitration Process
    • Preparing for the Arbitration Appeals Hearing
    • Checklist for Testifying as a Witness
    • Criteria Used by Arbitrators in Interpreting Agreement Language
    • Effect of Binding Arbitration
  • Issues and Challenges
    • Introduction
    • Grievance Issues

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