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Mission Statement & Statutory Authority 

The mission of the Employment Relations Board is to respond to requests for assistance in collective bargaining and labor/management relations and to resolve disputes concerning employment relations for approximately 3,000 employers and 250,000 employees in the public and private sector under its jurisdiction.
The agency administers three separate statutory schemes.  The Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (ORS 243.650 through 243.766) covers collective bargaining in state and local government; the State Personnel Relations Law (ORS Chapter 240) creates appeal rights for non-union state employees who believe they were treated unfairly in the workplace; and the private sector labor-management relations law (ORS 662.405 through 662.455, and 663.005 through 663.295) concerns collective bargaining for private sector employees who are not covered by federal law.  The agency’s administrative rules are in OAR Chapter 115.
The agency provides three main services to public employers and labor organizations: conducting representation elections, providing mediation services, and conducting contested case hearings. 
The public policy underlying these laws is to promote stability in the workplace and to reduce workplace disputes and the accompanying costs and disruption of services to the public.  All Oregonians benefit from the agency’s services.  Collective bargaining establishes a process for resolving disputes over public employee wages, hours, and other conditions of employment.  Similarly, the State Personnel Relations Law resolves workplace disputes involving non-union state employees.  Resolution of workplace disputes insures the public that it will continue to receive public services without impairment or interruption; it creates a more stable and productive workforce and reduces the costs of recruitment and training; and it is faster, more efficient, and less expensive than resolving these disputes through court proceedings.  These outcomes support the state’s goal of economic growth.  Companies that are looking to relocate in Oregon, as well as those deciding whether to stay, will inevitably consider whether there are stable and efficient public services to support their business.
Agency Description
The Employment Relations Board:
  1. Administers the collective bargaining law that covers public employees of the State of Oregon and its cities, counties, school districts, and other local governments;
  2. Hears and decides appeals from state employees concerning personnel actions; and
  3. Administers the collective bargaining law that regulates private employers who are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act.
The Board is a quasi-judicial body whose members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.  The statute requires the Governor to consider the interests of labor, management, and the public in selecting Board members.  One member is named Board chair and serves as the agency administrator.  Board members apply the law in a neutral and objective manner without regard to their background.  The Board is supported by a staff of ten, including administrative law judges, mediators, an elections coordinator, and support personnel.  The four agency programs are:
  • Conciliation (Mediation) Services:  The program provides mediation and conciliation services to resolve collective bargaining disputes, contract grievances, unfair labor practices, and representation matters; maintains a list of qualified labor arbitrators and provides names from the list upon request of the parties to a labor dispute; and provides training in methods of alternative dispute resolution, labor/management cooperation, problem solving, and other similar programs designed for the specific needs of the parties.
  • Hearings:  Administrative law judges process all unfair labor practice complaints, all state personnel appeals, and those representation matters referred from the elections division because they require a contested case hearing.  The judges conduct contested case hearings and issue recommended decisions.
  • Elections:  Elections processes all petitions involving questions of union representation or composition of the bargaining unit; conducts elections when necessary; and certifies election results.
  • Board:  The Board is the "labor court" that resolves disputes between state and local governments and their employees.  The Board issues final agency orders in declaratory rulings, contested case adjudications of unfair labor practice complaints, representation matters, appeals from state personnel actions, and related matters.  The Board also administers state labor laws that cover private sector employees that are exempt from the National Labor Relations Act.