Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted by Bill No. 75-66[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This legislation was included as Ch. 16, Art. III, of the 1978 Code.
A. 
In order to promote harmonious and cooperative relationships between the county and its employees and to protect the public by assuring at all times the orderly and uninterrupted operations of the county government, the County Council declares that it is the public policy of the county, subject to the limitations of the Constitution and the applicable laws of the state, that county employees be permitted to participate effectively in the determination of the terms and conditions of their employment.
B. 
It is also the purpose of this Article to strengthen the existing relationships between the county, its employees and their representatives by imposing on each the obligation to enter into negotiations with affirmative willingness to reach agreement in matters of wages, hours, working conditions and other terms of employment with due regard for and subject to the provisions of applicable laws and the Charter provisions governing public employment and fiscal Charter provisions governing public employment and fiscal procedures in the county.
For the purposes of this article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
APPROPRIATE REPRESENTATION UNIT
A grouping of classified positions in the county service which, by the application of the provisions of this Article, has been deemed appropriate for the purposes of collective negotiations.
ARBITRATION
A procedure whereby parties unable to agree on a solution to a problem indicate their willingness to submit their problem to a third party for his opinion.
CONFIDENTIAL EMPLOYEE
An employee who has a functional responsibility and assists and acts in a confidential capacity to county officials who formulate, determine and effectuate policies in the field of employee relations.
CONTRACT YEAR
The county's fiscal year, July 1 to June 30.
COUNTY EMPLOYEES
All persons occupying classified positions as defined in the Charter, except confidential employees and attorneys employed to represent the county in any capacity.
COUNTY OFFICIALS
The County Executive, the Director of Administration and all department and office heads appointed in accordance with the Charter.
DAYS
All references to "days" are deemed to be references to calendar days.
EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATION
Any lawful association, labor organization, federation, council or brotherhood, the primary purpose of which is to represent county employees concerning terms and conditions of employment and having a local constitution or bylaws and a roster of officers duly elected in accordance with such constitution or bylaws. Such term shall not include any organization which:
A. 
Advocates the overthrow of the constitutional forms of government in the United States; or
B. 
Discriminates with regard to the terms or conditions of membership because of race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin or political affiliation.
EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE
An employee organization which has been certified as the collective bargaining agent for an appropriate representation unit for the purpose of representing county employees within that unit, regardless of employee organization membership.
INTERVENOR EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATION
An employee organization which has complied with the provisions of this Article that permit it to be included with the petitioning organization as one (1) of the choices on the ballot in a representation election.
LOCKOUT
The temporary withholding of work, by means of shutting down an operation or function of the county, from a group of employees in order to bring pressure on them or on their representatives to accept a change in compensation or rights, privileges, obligations or other terms and conditions of employment.
MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEE
Any individual, including but not limited to a foreman, supervisor, superintendent, chief, director or deputy director, whose primary or exclusive functional responsibility is to exercise the authority, in the interest of the county, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward or discipline other employees or the responsibility to direct them or to adjust their grievances or effectively to recommend such action, if, in connection with the foregoing, the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature but requires the use of independent judgment.
MEDIATION
The process whereby the parties seek to reconcile their differences through the services of a third party who acts as an intermediary in bringing the parties together and actively seeks to assist the parties in reaching a settlement by making suggestions, providing background information and noting avenues open to the parties for settlement.
PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEE
An employee engaged in work which is predominantly intellectual and so varied in character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time and which requires knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning, as distinguished from a general academic education or from an apprenticeship or from training in the performance of routine mental, manual or physical processes.
STRIKE
By concerted action, the failure to report for duty, the willful absence from one's position, the stoppage or slowdown of work or the abstinence in whole or in part from the full, faithful and proper performance of the duties of employment for the purpose of inducing, influencing, coercing or preventing a change in compensation or rights, privileges, obligations or other terms and conditions of employment.
A. 
County employees shall have the right to form, join, assist and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation of all matters of employee relations, except that management employees shall not have the right to join, assist or participate in the activities of any employee organization, or any of its affiliates, representing or seeking to represent employees under their direction.
B. 
Confidential employees shall not have the right to join, assist or participate in the activities of any employee organization representing or seeking to represent nonconfidential employees of the county.
C. 
County employees also shall have the right not to join any employee organizations or participate in their activities and shall have the right to represent themselves individually or designate their personal representative in their employment relations with the county.
D. 
No employee shall be interfered with, intimidated, restrained, coerced or discriminated against because of his exercise of such rights.
E. 
An employee organization officially certified as the exclusive representative for a representation unit in accordance with this Article is the only employee organization entitled to membership dues deduction privileges after presentation of dues deduction authorization cards signed by individual employees.
F. 
Such privilege ceases upon decertification in accordance with the provisions of this Article. Notwithstanding the above, no employee organization membership dues shall be deducted on behalf of any employee whose position is not included in an appropriate representation unit or on behalf of any employee organization unless such organization is the exclusive representative of the representation unit in which the employee is working.
A. 
Notwithstanding any other provision contained in this Article, it is the exclusive right of the county to determine the purposes and objectives of each of its constituent offices and departments, to set standards of services to be offered to the public, to determine the methods, means, personnel and other resources by which the county's operations are to be conducted and to exercise control and discretion over its organization and operations.
B. 
It is also the responsibility of the county to direct its employees to hire, promote, transfer, assign or retain employees and to establish reasonable work rules and to demote, suspend, discharge or take any other appropriate disciplinary action against its employees for just cause and to relieve its employees from duty because of lack of work or other legitimate reason, in accordance with the county Charter and other applicable laws.
C. 
The provisions of this Article shall be deemed to be a part of every memorandum of agreement executed between the county and an employee organization, provided that nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to deny the right of any employee to submit a grievance.
[Amended by Bill No. 77-121]
A. 
An employee organization which seeks formal recognition, for purposes of collective bargaining, as an exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate representation unit shall file a petition for certification with the Personnel Officer, containing the following information and documentation:
(1) 
A certified copy of the organization's constitution or bylaws, along with a roster of officers duly elected in accordance with such constitution or bylaws and a delineation of all intraorganizational and interorganizational affiliations.
(2) 
A statement that the employee organization has as a primary purpose the representation of employees in their employment relations with the county.
(3) 
A statement that the employee organization has no terms or conditions of membership which discriminate with regard to race, color, creed, sex, age, political affiliation or national origin.
(4) 
A request that the county recognize the employee organization as the exclusive representative of the unit claimed to be appropriate.
(5) 
A written list containing each job class title to be included in the proposed representation unit.
(6) 
A statement that the employee organization has in its possession written proof, dated within six (6) months of the date upon which the petition is filed, to establish that at least thirty percent (30%) of the employees in the unit claimed to be appropriate have designated the employee organization to represent them in their employment relations with the county. This percentage [thirty percent (30%)] may be verified by an appropriate state agency upon request of the Personnel Officer.
B. 
Such a petition may be received by the Personnel Officer only during the time period beginning with the date this Article takes effect and December 31 of the same calendar year. In subsequent years, such petitions may be received not more than ninety (90) nor less than sixty (60) days prior to the contract termination or any time after decertification.
C. 
Upon receipt of such petition, the Personnel Officer shall give adequate and timely notice of the filing to the employees in the proposed unit and shall, within thirty (30) days of the filing date of the petition, determine either that the proposed unit is an appropriate representation unit or that an alternative unit is the appropriate representation unit. The following factors, among others, shall be considered:
(1) 
Which unit will assure employees the fullest freedom in the exercise of rights described in this Article.
(2) 
The community of interest among employees in the proposed unit, involving such criteria as similarity of job duties, skills, wages, education requirements, supervision and working conditions.
(3) 
The history of employee relations within the county.
(4) 
The effect on the existing classification structure of dividing a single classification among two (2) or more units.
(5) 
The effect of the unit of the overfragmentation of the classified service to the detriment of mutually beneficial relationships between the county and the employees.
(6) 
The effect of the unit on the efficient operation of the public service.
D. 
No unit shall be established solely on the basis of the extent to which employees in the unit have organized, and professional employees shall not be denied the right to be represented separately from nonprofessional employees, nor shall management and confidential employees be included in the same unit with nonmanagement or nonconfidential employees.
E. 
In the event that the Personnel Officer and a petitioning employee organization are in disagreement as to the determination of the appropriate representation unit, the issue shall be submitted to the Personnel Advisory Board for determination. The Board shall hold a public hearing and issue a determination, in a timely manner, in accordance with the provisions of Section 607 of the Charter.
F. 
When an appropriate representation unit has been determined, the Personnel Officer shall give adequate and timely notice of the determination to all employees within the newly established representation unit and shall arrange for a secret ballot certification election to be conducted by the State Department of Licensing and Regulation, Division of Labor and Industry, in which the employees in such unit shall be offered a choice between exclusive representation by the petitioning employee organization or of no exclusive representation.
(1) 
Provided that, if an intervenor employee organization certifies that at least thirty percent (30%) of the employees in the unit have designated it to represent them in their employment relations with the county and if such organization complies with the requirements of Subsection A(1) through (4) of this section, the ballot shall offer a choice among the petitioning employee organization, any intervenor employee organization or no exclusive representation.
(2) 
Any employee organization shall be certified as exclusive representative following an election or runoff election if the employee organization has received the vote of a numerical majority of all valid ballots cast by the employees in the unit in which the election or runoff election is held, i.e., fifty percent (50%), plus one (1) of the votes cast by eligible employees.
(3) 
If such an election is an election involving three (3) or more choices, where none of the choices receives a majority of the votes cast, a runoff election shall be conducted between the two (2) choices receiving the largest number of votes cast.
G. 
No election for a new representative unit shall be conducted when an election has been conducted within the preceding year.
H. 
The Personnel Officer shall report the results of all elections.
The rights and duties of a certified employee organization shall be as follows:
A. 
When an employee organization has been certified, such employee organization shall have the right and duty, through appropriate officials and representatives, to negotiate collectively with the county in matters related to wages, hours, working conditions and other terms of employment of all employees in the representation unit, without discrimination and without regard to any employee organization membership.
B. 
The term "negotiation," as used in this Article, shall include the duty to confer in good faith at reasonable times and to reduce to a memorandum of agreement the matters agreed upon as a result of such meetings and conferences when all issues have been resolved, which memorandum shall be signed by the duly authorized county and employee organization representatives. Nothing contained in this Article shall preclude any employee, regardless of employee organization membership, from bringing matters of personal concern to the attention of appropriate officials or from choosing his own representative in a grievance or appellate action.
C. 
Neither the county nor any employee organization shall engage in any unfair labor practice as set forth in any applicable federal or state law.
D. 
An employee organization which is accorded exclusive recognition shall not deny membership to any employee in the appropriate unit, except for failure to meet reasonable occupational standards uniformly required for admission or for failure to tender initiation fees and dues uniformly required as a condition of acquiring and retaining membership. This subsection does not preclude an employee organization from enforcing discipline in accordance with its constitution or bylaws which conform to the requirements of this Article.
A. 
A decertification petition, alleging that a certified employee organization is no longer the majority representative of employees in an appropriate representation unit, may be filed with the Personnel Officer by an employee, a group of employees or their representative, or an employee organization. Such petition calendar must be accompanied by written proof, dated within ninety (90) days of the date on which the petition is filed, of employee approval equal to at least thirty percent (30%) of the employees within the representation unit.
B. 
A decertification petition may be received by the Personnel Officer only during the month of October of each year following the first full year of exclusive representation, and no decertification petition for the same representation unit shall be received more frequently than every two (2) years. The Personnel Officer shall arrange for a secret ballot election to be conducted by the State Department of Licensing and Regulation, Division of Labor and Industry, in which the employees in such representation unit shall be offered a choice between the exclusive representation by the certified employee organization or no exclusive representation, provided that, if intervenor employee organizations comply fully with the requirements set forth in this Article, the ballot shall offer a choice among the certified employee organization, any intervenor employee organization or no exclusive representation.
C. 
The determination of election results shall be made in accordance with the criteria provided in this Article. In the absence of decertification, the certification of a recognized employee organization shall continue on a year-to-year basis.
D. 
When a valid memorandum of agreement is in effect on the effective date of decertification of any employee organization which is a party thereto, the county and the newly certified employee organization, if there is any, shall be bound by the provisions of that agreement during the remainder of its term.
[Amended by Bill Nos. 77-121; 82-13]
A. 
Negotiations between the county and exclusive representative units shall be commenced no later than November 1 for the next contract year. Negotiations shall be conducted individually and separately with each representative unit. All negotiations for the ensuing contract year shall be finalized prior to March 1 next preceding that contract year. Contracts with representative units shall not be signed for a contract year until after the current expense budget is adopted for that contract year by the County Council.
B. 
Fact-finding and arbitration.
(1) 
If the terms of a contract have not been agreed upon by the county and an individual representative unit by December 15 next preceding the ensuing contract year, a fact finder may be selected by mutual agreement between the county and the representative unit. If the county and the representative unit are unable to agree on the selection of a fact finder, they shall make their selection from a panel of neutrals, maintained by the American Arbitration Association, by the county first deleting a name from the list and the representative unit then deleting a name from the list until the deletions result in only one (1) name remaining; that person shall be the fact finder.
(2) 
The fact finder shall meet with the parties and shall make written findings of fact and recommendations for the resolution of the dispute no later than January 15 next preceding the ensuing contract year. The fact finder, in making his findings and recommendations, shall take into consideration, among other pertinent factors, wages, benefits, hours and other working conditions of other county employees, both in the county and in other similar state political jurisdictions; wages, benefits, hours and other working conditions of employees of private employers in the county; the value of other benefits available to or received by county employees as compared with private sector employees in the county; cost of living data; and the availability of funds. Copies of findings and recommendations shall be sent to the County Executive and the representative unit.
(3) 
Fact-finding may be mutually waived, and, if so, the times and procedures outlined below shall be adhered to.
(4) 
If no agreement is reached by February 5, the parties shall submit issues to the American Arbitration Association, who shall render a written opinion prior to March 1 next preceding the beginning of the contract year. Either party may also submit a copy of the findings of fact and recommendations of the fact finder, along with its recommendations for resolving the issues. The opinion of the arbitrator shall be advisory to both the county and the representative unit.
(5) 
If the county and any representative unit for employees of the county are unable to agree upon the terms of a contract by March 1 next preceding the beginning of a contract year, the County Executive may formulate his budget predicated upon an amount of funds recommended by an arbitrator and, if an arbitration opinion has not been rendered, upon an amount of funds he deems appropriate.
(6) 
Except as provided for above, provisions of this Article may not be waived. The cost of fact-finding and arbitration shall be borne equally by the parties involved in the dispute.
(7) 
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Article providing for arbitration, if the County Council, by unanimous vote, all duly seated members being present, decides that the county's fiscal posture is such that the total funds recommended by the County Executive cannot be funded during the contract year, the County Council reserves the right, duty and obligation to determine the amount of money that can be funded by the county to support the proposed contract.
Disputes concerning the interpretation or application of this Article shall be submitted in writing directly to the Personnel Officer within fifteen (15) days of the date of occurrence of the action being appealed. If the dispute is not resolved by the Personnel Officer within ten (10) days or if the dispute is from an action, decision or determination of the Personnel Officer in the first instance and the employee or employee organization desires further consideration by the Personnel Advisory Board, written request shall be submitted to the Personnel Officer within ten (10) days of the date of his action, decision or determination. The dispute shall be placed on the docket of the Personnel Advisory Board for hearing no later than ten (10) days after submission of the dispute. The Personnel Advisory Board shall render its decision on the dispute within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date the Board's hearing is concluded, and the Personnel Advisory Board's decision shall be final and binding on all parties. All hearings before the Personnel Advisory Board shall be in accordance with the provisions of existing law. Any hearing may, at the request of the employee, be public. These procedures apply only to the areas covered by this Article.
[Amended by Bill No. 76-73]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for an employee or an employee organization to engage in, initiate, sponsor, support or direct a strike. If an employee or employee organization shall violate the provisions of this Article, the County Executive may take any of the following actions he deems necessary in the public interest:
(1) 
Imposition of disciplinary action, including removal from county service, of employees engaged in such illegal conduct.
(2) 
Termination of any employee organization's dues dedication privilege, if any.
(3) 
Revocation of exclusive representation certification and disqualification from participation in representation elections for a period up to a maximum of two (2) years.
B. 
The county shall not, under any circumstances, engage in, initiate or direct a lockout of county employees.
C. 
The county shall not, under any circumstances, agree or allow any system of employee, county and labor organization relationship that can be termed as or that is similar to an agency shop. For the purpose of this section, "agency shop" shall mean a shop in which the union serves as the agent for and receives dues and assessments from all employees in the bargaining unit, regardless of union membership or shop.
A. 
Solicitation of membership or dues and other internal business of a labor organization shall be conducted during the nonduty hours of the employees concerned.
B. 
Employees who represent a recognized labor organization shall not be on official time when negotiating an agreement with agency management, except to the extent that the negotiating agency will either authorize official time for up to forty (40) hours or authorize up to one-half (1/2) the time spent in negotiations during regular working hours for a reasonable number of employees, which number shall not exceed the number of management representatives.
C. 
Violation by an employee of this section shall subject the violator to appropriate disciplinary action.