• Senate Majority Leader Attempts to Move on Proposed Public Safety Employer-Employee Relations Act
  • December 9, 2010 | Authors: Jeffrey J. Corradino; Garen E. Dodge; Kathleen Maylin
  • Law Firms: Jackson Lewis LLP - Morristown Office ; Jackson Lewis LLP - Reston Office ; Jackson Lewis LLP - San Francisco Office
  • Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Majority Leader of the Senate, has filed to schedule a Senate vote on whether to debate the proposed Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (“PSEECA”).  Senator Reid’s December 6th action is consistent with reports that he would make a last-ditch effort to make good on his promise to pass this legislation in the lame-duck legislative session of Congress.  He had failed to move the bill previously this summer.

    PSEECA represents an unprecedented attempt by the federal government to dictate labor relations policy for state employees.  The legislation requires that states grant collective bargaining rights to its first responders (firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel).  Further, PSEECA would establish a scheme where the Federal Labor Relations Authority (“FLRA”) ultimately would regulate and pass upon whether any particular state meets the federally dictated standards.

    At a minimum, PSEECA requires that states pass legislation protecting the rights of first responders to join and form labor organizations, and to recognize and bargaining collectively, and establishing impasse resolution procedures, such as mediation and fact-finding.  The rights ultimately must be enforceable in court.

    Our research shows that 24 states currently do not have legislation that grants the rights PSEECA seeks to establish.  However, all 50 states must be in compliance and PSEECA mandates that the FLRA review each state’s collective negotiations statutes and vests it with the right to determine whether a particular state meets the PSEECA’s goals.  States failing to pass required legislation or failing to comply with the standards established by PSEECA will come under the authority of the FLRA.

    In the past, PSEECA has enjoyed bi-partisan support and its passage appeared likely.  The results of the midterm elections, however, may hav e changed the dynamics.  It remains to be seen whether Senator Reid is successful in trying to push PSEECA as the present Congress comes to an end.