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Legislative History of the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA)

Excerpted from Labor and Employment Law: Public Sector (copyright 1990, 1997), published by the Oregon State Bar, Continuing Legal Education. (To order a copy of the book, contact the Oregon State Bar, 5200 S.W. Meadows Road, P.O. Box 1689, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035; phone (503) 620-0222, ext. 413, or 1-800-452-8260, ext. 413.)
The case citations in this chapter were checked for overrulings and reversals through March 1997. The citations to ORS were checked through 1995.VIII.   (§1.10)   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
Public employee collective bargaining in Oregon has evolved over the past several decades. In 1959, the legislature passed a bill that would have given public employees the right to organize and bargain, but it was vetoed by then-Governor Mark Hatfield. Another collective bargaining bill for public employees was introduced in the 1961 session but did not get out of committee.
In 1963, the legislature passed a bill that permitted but did not mandate public employee bargaining. 1963 Or Laws ch 579. The law gave employees a right to organize and bargain with their employers regarding "employment relations," which included, but was not limited to, "matters concerning wages, salaries, hours, vacations, sick leave, holiday pay and grievance procedures." The 1963 law gave employers the right to enter into collective bargaining agreements and provided that the services of the State Conciliation Service could be used in resolving public sector labor disputes but prohibited public employee strikes. It did not provide for establishing bargaining units or for conducting representation elections, and it did not establish a definite structure for bargaining. Only a scattering of local governments began to bargain during the period, and there was no bargaining in the state service. The 1963 legislation was amended in almost every subsequent legislative session.
In 1965 the legislature removed public school teachers from the public sector bargaining statute and established a limited "meet and confer" law for teachers. 1965 Or Laws ch 390. The teacher statute, however, strictly limited the scope of the mandatory subjects on which teachers could meet and confer to "matters of salaries and related economic policies affecting professional services." It provided that the respective district school boards were to establish election procedures and to certify teacher meet-and-confer committees. Another law enacted in the 1965 session required previously created civil service commissions to establish and administer procedures for designating bargaining units and conducting representation elections. 1965 Or Laws ch 543. The statute impliedly mandated collective bargaining both in the state government and in counties that were required to have civil service commissions. The state and labor organizations representing its employees signed collective bargaining agreements in 1966.
In 1969, as a result of a major reorganization in state government and because of an increasing concern in the legislature about public employee bargaining, the independent State Civil Service Commission was abolished and personnel management for state service was centralized in the personnel division of the governor's Executive Department. The Civil Service Commission was retitled the Public Employe Relations Board (PERB), which was a three-member, part-time, citizen board appointed by the governor. The board had two primary responsibilities: performing the quasi-judicial functions of the former Civil Service Commission and administering the collective bargaining law for the state and the units of local government that had opted to be covered by state law procedures. (From 1969 to 1973, approximately 40 local governments chose to become subject to the state law.) The 1969 law also transferred the State Conciliation Service, which mediates labor disputes, from the State Bureau of Labor to the PERB. 1969 Or Laws ch 671.
The 1971 Legislative Assembly amended the "meet and confer" law for public school teachers to require consultation over "salaries and related economic issues and grievance procedures" and placed classified employees of school districts under a similar meet-and-confer law. 1971 Or Laws ch 582.
By 1971, a number of local governments were bargaining with labor organizations representing their employees. Other local governments refused to bargain, creating a potential for serious problems that could have impaired the effective operation of units of government.
In June 1971, Jim Redden, then chair of the PERB, informed Governor Tom McCall that public employee collective bargaining was occurring and that the state should take the initiative in developing a framework of law and regulation that would permit orderly collective bargaining. Redden suggested to the governor that a task force be appointed to develop legislation for submission to the 1973 Legislature. Governor McCall agreed and appointed Redden, University of Oregon economics professor Paul Kleinsorge, and former Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service mediator Leroy Smith to the task force. The task force held numerous meetings, conducted several public hearings, and prepared a comprehensive proposed amendment to the existing state collective bargaining law.
The task force formally presented its draft bill to the House Labor Committee on January 31, 1973, and asked the committee to introduce the bill. Most of the major changes to the draft bill were made in the House Labor Committee. Ted Kulongoski, who was counsel to the committee, was instrumental in drafting the changes. One provision increased the ERB from three to five part-time members.
The collective bargaining bill passed the house, but a group of senators actively opposed it in the senate. The bill ultimately passed the senate by one vote. The opposing senators filed an initiative petition with the secretary of state to submit the bill to a vote of the people and started collecting signatures. Former PERB Chair Redden filed a challenge to the senators' ballot title. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the title was defective. Redden v. Myers, 266 Or 322, 513 P2d 767 (1973). The petitioners failed to submit enough signatures under the new title in time to include the petition on the ballot. The Public Employe Collective Bargaining Act became effective on October 5, 1973. 1973 Or Laws ch 536. Within two months, over 200 representation petitions and unfair labor practice complaints were filed.                  

In 1975, the legislature transferred all responsibilities of the private sector Labor-Management Relations Board (which regulated collective bargaining with private employers not involved in interstate commerce) to the PERB and then renamed it the Employment Relations Board. 1975 Or Laws ch 147.
In 1977, the legislature replaced the five-member, part-time, citizen board and its full-time administrator with the present structure, a three-member, full-time board on which the chair also serves as the administrator. 1977 Or Laws ch 808.
In 1987, the legislature incorporated mass transit districts into the definition of "public employer." 1987 Or Laws ch 792.
In 1989, the legislature eliminated the requirement that, before commencing a strike, a labor organization must exhaust the unfair labor practice complaint procedure for outstanding claims against an employer. 1989 Or Laws ch 1089.

(The following text is from the 1997 Supplement)                  

For a description of the political process involved in the legislative deliberations that led to the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act, see Widenor, Public Sector Bargaining in Oregon: The Enactment of the Pecba (Labor Education & Research Center, University of Oregon, 1989).
In 1978 the legislature established a procedure for employees to deauthorize a fair-share agreement entered into by a public employer and exclusive representative. 1978 Or Laws ch 5 (amending ORS 243.650(10)).
In 1991 the legislature directed the merger of certain school districts into a single unified district by September 1, 1996. 1991 Or Laws ch 393; see Note following ORS 330.310. The ERB subsequently adopted OAR 115-025-0090 to resolve representation issues regarding employees in the merging districts.
The 1991 Legislature also amended ORS 243.726(4)(b) to refer to new legislation regarding contempt of court (ORS 33.015-33.155). 1991 Or Laws ch 724, §28.
In 1993, to avoid eliminating an ERB mediator position because of budget restrictions, the legislature granted the ERB the authority to charge a fee for mediation services provided by the ERB. 1993 Or Laws ch 711. The ERB then adopted OAR 115-040-0000(2), which requires a local public employer and an exclusive representative involved in a labor dispute to each pay $250 before the first mediation session.
In 1995, the definition of employment relations was amended to generally exclude subjects that the ERB determines to have an insubstantial effect on employment terms or to be more related to management prerogative than to wages, hours, or other terms and conditions of employment. The legislature also specifically excluded certain subjects from bargaining for school districts and other public employers. See Supp §§6.8-6.19.
The 1995 Legislature revised bargaining procedures related to the length of negotiations before a mediator is appointed, declaration of an impasse, factfinding, strike, arbitration, and midterm bargaining. See generally Supp Chapter 5.
In 1995, unconventional strike activity, including "sit-down, slowdown, rolling, intermittent or on-and-off strikes," and picketing at certain locations were added to the list of unfair labor practices. See Supp §§5.63-5.77.
The 1995 Legislature revised the definition of supervisory employee in ORS 243.650(23), which has led to a significant change in the ERB's analysis of supervisory status petitions. See Supp §3.18.
The 1995 Legislature imposed fees of $250 to file a complaint and $100 to answer a complaint and provided that the ERB may order filing fee reimbursement to the prevailing party when the complaint or answer was frivolous or filed in bad faith. ORS 243.672(3).