13 CIR 104 (1998). Appealed 3/27/98. Appeal dismissed June 4, 1999.
|STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT||)||CASE NO. 932|
|THE STATE OF NEBRASKA,||)|
|For the Petitioner:||Mr. Vince Valentino|
|617 Grant Avenue|
|P. O. Box 584|
|York, NE 68467|
|For the Respondent:||Mr. William Harding|
|HARDING, SCHULTZ & DOWNS|
|800 Lincoln Square|
|121 South 13th Street|
|P. O. Box 82028|
|Lincoln, NE 68501-2028|
|Mr. Donald Stenberg|
|P. O. Box 98920|
|State Capitol, Room 2115|
|Lincoln, NE 68509-8920|
Before: Judges Cullan, Moore, and DeLay
NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS
This is an appeal to the Commission of Industrial Relations from a Special Masters Ruling pursuant to the State Employees Collective Bargaining Act, Sections 81-1369 to 81-1390.
The State Employees Collective Bargaining Act (Bargaining Act) authorizes collective bargaining between the State of Nebraska and collective bargaining units including employees represented by Petitioner, the State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council (Bargaining Council). The Bargaining Council is the collective bargaining agent for state employees within the Law Enforcement Bargaining Unit defined in section 81-1373(g). The Bargaining Act provides for negotiation of collective bargaining agreements covering two-year periods coinciding with the biennial state budget of the State of Nebraska (section 81-1377(4)). Retirement programs are not subject to collective bargaining (section 81-1377(2)). Negotiations are required to begin on or before the second Wednesday in September nearly a year before the start of the contract period (section 81-1379). Mediation is provided for any issues remaining unresolved on January 1, six months before the contract year begins (section 81-1381). All "agree-upon" issues are required to be reduced to writing and signed and final offers on each unresolved issue are required to be exchanged by January 10 (section 81-1382(1)). No Later than January 15 all unresolved issues must be submitted to a Special Master (section 81-1382(3)) who by February 15 must choose a final offer of one of the parties on each issue in dispute (section 81-1382(3)). Either party may appeal an adverse ruling on an issue to the Commission of Industrial Relations on or before March 15. On appeal no new issues are allowed (section 81-1383(1)).
Here the two-year period covered by the collective bargaining agreement in dispute commenced July 1, 1997, and ends June 30, 1999. In compliance with the Bargaining Act, the parties participated in collective bargaining. They were unable to resolve all negotiated issues and, therefore, exchanged final offers covering all unresolved issues on January 10, 1997. These unresolved issues and final offers were submitted to Special Master proceedings pursuant to the provisions of the Bargaining Act in an evidentiary hearing on January 28 and 29, 1997. The Special Master issued his Ruling on February 18, 1997, wherein he chose the Bargaining Council's final offers on issues not involved in this appeal and the State's final offers concerning the following portions of the collective bargaining agreement:
•Wage Administration (Article 21),
•Pay Plan (Appendix F),
•Salary Grade Assignments (Appendix G), and
•Original Probationary Period (Article 23).
The Bargaining Council brought this appeal to the Commission by filing its Petition On Appeal Of Special Master's Ruling on March 4, 1997. The State filed its Answer on March 19, 1997.
In its Petition On Appeal, the Bargaining Council appeals the Special Master's Ruling in favor of the State on the above listed contract provisions which concern wage increases, implementation of a step pay plan and elimination of reference to a probationary pay period in Article 23 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In its Answer the State asks the Commission to affirm the Special Master's ruling.
This is the second appeal brought to the commission by the
Bargaining Council. Our decision in the first appeal is reported at
State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council v. State of Nebraska, 12
CIR 32 (1993).
OTHER PENDING CASES
The parties have two other cases pending before the
Commission--Case No. 931, a representation case concerning
deletion of Fire Marshall Inspectors from the bargaining unit; and
Case No. 927, a prohibited practices case concerning unilateral
changes to the bargaining unit. This case is being considered only on
the record herein and entirely independent of any evidence or
decision in the other cases.
STANDARD OF REVIEW ON APPEAL TO THE COMMISSION
The standard the Commission of Industrial Relations is directed to apply in ruling on an appeal is set forth in Section 81-1383(2) and (3) which provide:
(2) The commission shall show significant deference to the Special Master's ruling and shall only set the ruling aside upon a finding that the ruling is significantly disparate from prevalent rates of pay or conditions of employment as determined by the commission pursuant to section 48-818. The commission shall not find the Special Master's ruling to be significantly disparate from prevalent rates of pay or conditions of employment in any instance when the prevalent rates of pay or conditions of employment, as determined by the commission pursuant to section 48-818, fall between the final offers of the parties.
(3) If the commission does not defer to the Special Master's ruling, it shall enter an order implementing the final offer on each issue appealed which would result in rates of pay and conditions of employment most comparable with the prevalent rates of pay and conditions of employment determined by it pursuant to section 48-818. Under no circumstances shall the commission enter an order on an issue which does not implement one of the final offers of the parties. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the commission from deferring to the Special Master's ruling if it finds that the ruling would not result in significant disparity with the prevalent rates of pay and conditions of employment as it has determined pursuant to section 48-818.
The authority of the Commission is thus limited to upholding the Special Master's ruling "when the prevalent rates of pay or conditions of employment . . . fall between the final offers of the parties." In all other circumstances, the Commission must implement the final offer on each issue appealed which it finds to be "most comparable to the prevalent." Section 48-818 of the Industrial Relations Act (sections 48-801 to 48-838) provides the standard by which the Commission is to determine prevalent rates of pay or conditions of employment.
In contrast to the standard to be applied by the Commission in ruling on an appeal from a Special Master's ruling, the Bargaining Act directs the Special Master to apply broader criteria in making his or her decision. The standard the Special Master is directed to apply in choosing a final offer is set forth in Section 81-1382(3) which provides in pertinent part:
The Special Master shall choose the most reasonable final offer on each issue in dispute. In making such choice, he or she shall consider factors relevant to collective bargaining between public employers and public employees, including comparable rates of pay and conditions of employment as described in section 48-818.
In choosing the most reasonable final offer on an issue, a Special Master is thus directed to consider factors relevant to public sector collective bargaining in addition to comparable rates of pay and conditions of employment "described" in section 48-818. "Comparable" is described in section 48-818 in terms of wage rates and conditions of employment "for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions." The additional public sector collective bargaining factors are extraneous to any comparability analysis under section 48-818 of the Industrial Relations Act.
Section 48-818 provides in pertinent part as follows:
. . . the Commission of Industrial Relations shall establish rates of pay and conditions of employment which are comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid and conditions of employment maintained for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions. In establishing wage rates the commission shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard not only to wages for time actually worked but also to wages for time not worked, including vacations, holidays, and other excused time, and all benefits received, including insurance and pensions, and the continuity and stability of employment enjoyed by the employees.
A Special Master's consideration of section 48-818 comparability in choosing the most reasonable final offer on each issue in dispute is, by definition, a consideration of each issue of wages or other terms or conditions of employment on an issue-by-issue basis. Each issue is separately considered. Each final offer is separately chosen. Each issue is separately resolved. Such an issue-by-issue consideration of section 48-818 comparability in choosing a most reasonable final offer conflicts with, and thus precludes, consideration of overall compensation in Special Master proceedings under the Bargaining Act.
The divergent standards to be applied by Special Masters and by the Commission in an appeal from a Special Master's Ruling must be reconciled in light of section 81-1372 which provides in pertinent part:
The State Employees Collective Bargaining Act shall be deemed cumulative to the Industrial Relations Act except when otherwise specifically provided or when inconsistent with the Industrial Relations Act, in which case the State Employees Collective Bargaining Act shall prevail.
To interpret section 81-182(2) and (3) of the Bargaining Act as requiring the Commission to take overall compensation into consideration in determining rates of pay or conditions of employment "pursuant to section 48-818" would be inconsistent with the intent and purpose of the Bargaining Act, could lead to nonsensical results, and is inconsistent with the history of appeals from Special Master's rulings to the Commission.
The legislative history of the Bargaining Act, which is well known to the Commission, establishes beyond doubt that a primary purpose of the act was to encourage voluntary resolution of disputes in the collective bargaining process, and, to the extent the parties failed in achieving voluntary agreement on all issues, to provide an efficient, speedy, simple, cost effective means for resolving all remaining unresolved issues. Public policy clearly favors these purposes.
Requiring the parties to confront the complexity and cost of addressing overall compensation in an appeal from a Special Masters Ruling frustrates these public policies. Consider for instance that in the present case the cost to the State alone for expert witnesses to address the pension plan, and insurance aspects of the overall compensation issue ran in excess of $80,000.00. If both parties fully explored and addressed these two aspects of the issue, the total cost could reasonably be expected to be in the range of $150,000.00 to $200,000.00. The Legislature did not intend for "agreed-upon" issues and issues controlled by statute to be reincarnated as complex, costly expert opinions and documentary evidence in an overall compensation analysis. Such costs and complexities are inconsistent with the intent and purposes of the Bargaining Act.
Nonsensical results can also result when only the Special Master or the Commission considers overall compensation. Consideration of overall compensation by the Special Master at times could lead to establishing rates of pay which would make the final offer of one party most reasonable while the other party's final offer would be considered by the Commission on appeal most comparable when overall compensation is not considered. The reverse could also be true. Under such a circumstance (where the rates of pay considered prevalent by the Commission did not fall between the final offers of the parties) the Special Master would be compelled to choose the final offer of one party while the Commission would be compelled to enter an order implementing the other party's final offer. The humor of such a development would likely be lost on both parties.
This nonsensical result could, of course, be eliminated by amendment of the Act or by judicial interpretation. The Bargaining Act could be amended to require the Special Master to consider overall compensation in choosing the most reasonable final offer concerning wage rates. Absent such an amendment, any interpretation of the Bargaining Act to require the Special Master to consider overall compensation would be both contrary to the intent of the Legislature and in conflict with the provisions of the Bargaining Act. Alternatively an amendment or interpretation could require the Commission to ignore or use overall compensation in determining prevalent rates of pay for purposes of an appeal of a Special Mater's ruling under the Bargaining Act. Interpreting the Act to require the Commission to ignore overall compensation removes a possible inconsistency between the Bargaining Act and the Industrial Relations Act and allows the Bargaining Act to "prevail" as required by section 81-1372.
It should also be noted that in earlier appeals of Special Master Rulings to the Commission, including an earlier appeal involving the same parties presently before the Commission, no one has suggested that the Commission make an overall compensation analysis in determining whether the Special Master's ruling on any issue is "significantly disparate from rates of pay or conditions of employment" as it determines under section 48-818.
Given the public policy favoring efficiencies of time and expenses,
the issue-by-issue process inherent in the Bargaining Act, the
unlimited flexibility offered both parties in their conduct of collective
bargaining and in constructing their final offers, the legislative history
of the Bargaining Act, the history of appeals of Special Master
Rulings to the Commission and the prevalence given to the
Bargaining Act by section 81-1372, the Commission is compelled to
eliminate the nonsensical result problem discussed above by not
including a consideration of overall compensation in its comparability
analysis under the Bargaining Act. Such "offsets," as the parties term
them, are not to be considered by the Commission under the
NATURE OF COMMISSION'S HEARING ON APPEAL
The Bargaining Act does not specifically address the nature of the hearing to be conducted by the Commission in an appeal from Special Master's ruling. Whether the evidence to be considered on appeal should be limited to evidence in the record made before the Special Master, whether the parties should be allowed to supplement or expand the Special Master's record or whether an entirely new record should be made before the Commission is not addressed in the Bargaining Act.
In paragraph 8 of the prayer of the Bargaining Council's Petition, the Council prays for an order "granting an additional evidential or supplemental hearing before the Commission . . ." While the Answer filed by the State does not address this issue, the State later requested that the record of proceedings before the Special Master be reopened to allow the State to present additional or supplemental evidence. Petitioner objected to the State's request to reopen the record.
The above requests and objection suggest that the parties anticipated that the Commission would consider the appeal of the Special Master's ruling at least in part de novo on the record. Obviously, if both parties wish to limit the evidence offered to the Commission to evidence presented to the Special Master, they may do so. The Commission finds, however, that they need not do so.
A Special Master is obligated under section 81-1382 to consider evidence concerning all "unresolved issues." Evidence relevant to his or her deliberations includes a broad range of unspecified public sector collective bargaining factors.
An appeal of a Special Master's ruling to the Commission will likely involve only some of the "unresolved issues" considered by the Special Master. Evidence offered before the Special Master relating to issues not before the Commission is not relevant to the Commission. Likewise, evidence concerning public sector collective bargaining factors peculiar to the Special Master's deliberations is not relevant to the Commission. Because the decision to be made by the Commission on an appeal of a Special Master's ruling is limited by the Bargaining Act as discussed above, the evidence which is relevant to the Commission is likewise limited.
The Commission must consider evidence relevant to its determination under section 81-1383(2) and (3) bearing on whether the Special Master's ruling on each issue before the Commission is "significantly disparate from prevalent rates of pay or conditions of employment as determined by the commission pursuant to section 48-818." If the Special Master's ruling is found to be "significantly disparate," the Commission then must determine from the evidence which final offer on such issue "would result in rates of pay and conditions of employment most comparable with the prevalent . . ." No other evidence is relevant to the task assigned by the Legislature to the Commission in such proceeding under the Bargaining Act.
Because the evidence needed by the Commission is not coextensive with the evidence appropriate for the Special Master to weigh and consider, the Commission finds that the parties must be allowed to make a record before the Commission which contains evidence which is otherwise admissible and which is relevant to the task assigned to the Commission. Other evidence should be excluded as irrelevant and immaterial.
It must be remembered that the Commission lacks the powers to consider matters of law and equity reserved to the courts. The jurisdiction of the Commission is derived from Section 9, Article XV, of the Constitution of Nebraska and the Statutes which have created and defined its powers. Whether proceedings before the Special Master were tarnished by errors of law or fact, whether of constitutional significance or not, is beyond the powers of the Commission except to the extent and in the sense the Legislature has provided. Whether a Special Master decides to weigh the evidence before him or her on a bathroom scale or to turn the hearing he or she conducts into a trial by ordeal, testing the endurance and patience of both parties, matters not to the Commission. Our only concern is with the result reached. We are obliged to follow the dictates of the Bargaining Act regardless of how we may view the process and reasoning of the Special Master.
While the Special Master may appear to be in error in several respects, such errors are not pertinent to the Commission's decision in this appeal. Although the Special Master misinterpreted the State's final offer as maintaining the "longevity pay in Article 21.2.3, which Provides $208 to an employee after completing 5, 10, 15, and 25 years of service," and misinterpreted the Bargaining Act to "require" him to consider overall compensation, these errors are not within the scope of the review by the Commission which has been provided by the Legislature in the Bargaining Act.
It is likewise beyond the scope of this statutory "appeal" to the
Commission that it was inherently inconsistent for the Special
Master to find, on the one hand, that the State's analysis of
retirement and insurance benefits was "not relevant" and of "no
probative value" and ,on the other hand, to rely on such analysis in
making his ruling. The Bargaining Council may argue with
reasonable conviction that the Special Master would have chosen its
Final Offer including the step pay plan he found prevalent had he not
made these errors of law and fact. Since we are directed to consider
only the Special Master's choice of final offers, these issues are
beyond our reach. So long as the "prevalent rates of pay or
conditions of employment . . . fall between the final offers of the
parties," we must affirm the Special Master.
The parties agreed in the proceeding before the Special Master that the array to be used in this case should consist of the six states which surround Nebraska; i.e. Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota and Wyoming. This was not a contested issued raised in the appeal from the Special Master's ruling and the comparability evidence offered by the parties before the Commission is based on the agreed-upon array. From the evidence, it is clear that the work, skills, and working skills of employees within the bargaining unit and comparable employees within the array are sufficiently similar to satisfy the standards required by Nebraska law.
The Commission finds that an array composed of the six states
which surround Nebraska constitutes an appropriate array for
purpose of this appeal.
THE ISSUES APPEALED PURSUANT TO SECTION 81-1383
One of the terms defined in the Bargaining Act is "issue," which "unless the context otherwise requires," is defined in Section 81-1371(8) as follows:
Issue shall mean broad subjects of negotiation which are presented to the Special Master pursuant to section 81-1382. All aspects of wages shall be a single issue, all aspects of insurance shall be a single issue, and all other subjects of negotiations classified in broad categories shall be single issues.
In the context of the Bargaining Act definition which classifies "all aspects of wages" as a "single issue," the only issue brought to the Commission by this appeal concerns "wages."
In the Petition on Appeal, the Bargaining Council describes the
issue as Wage Administration, Pay Plan and Salary Grade
Assignments plus Original Probationary Period. The Special Master
also used these descriptions in his Ruling. Relevant Wage
Administration contract provisions are found in Article 21 ; the Pay
Plan is found in Appendix F, Salary Grade Assignments are set forth
in Appendix G, and the contract provision dealing with Original
Probationary Pay is found in Article 23.4 of the 1995-97 collective
bargaining agreement. These portions of the 1995-1997 collective
bargaining agreement as set forth in Appendix 1.
THE STATE'S FINAL OFFER
The State's final offer, relevant to this appeal, is set forth in Appendix 2. The wage increase proposed in the State's final offer consists of 2.75% across-the-board wage increases effective July 1, 1997 and July 1, 1998.
THE BARGAINING COUNCIL'S FINAL OFFER
The Bargaining Council's final offer relevant to this appeal is
contained in Appendix 3. In general, the Bargaining Council
proposes a step pay plan for each job classification in the collective
bargaining unit plus longevity pay.
TOTAL WAGES PAID PER CLASSIFICATION UNDER
CURRENT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
The parties each provided the Commission with evidence of the total wages being paid each of the 498 members of the bargaining unit. Based on our own calculations and the latest evidence offered by the parties we find that the following total wages are being paid for each of the listed classifications:
Employees Per Classification
Current Wages Per Classification
|State Patrol Trooper I||37||$ 884,236.56|
|State Patrol Trooper II||185||$ 5,822,007.84|
|State Patrol Investigative Officer||65||$ 2,067,988.80|
|State Patrol Sergeant||72||$ 2,762,289.24|
|State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Officer||64||$ 1,584,645.40|
|Liquor Control Inspector||3||$ 110,418.60|
|Game & Parks Conservation Officer I||4||$ 89,427.84|
|Game & Parks Conservation Officer II||44||$ 1,481,205.00|
|Fire Marshall Deputy||22||$ 623,234.16|
|Fire Marshall Deputy/Pipeline Safety||2||$ 55,404.96|
We have not adjusted the total wage figures given to us by the parties for so-called longevity pay provided in Article 21.2.3 of the collective bargaining agreement. The collective bargaining agreement specifies that each employee who qualifies for such an increase has it added to his or her annualized base salary upon completion of the specified years of service. Such increases, referred to as "scheduled service anniversary date increases" or as a "service anniversary raise," are thus already included in the above totals of current wages.
Prevalent Annual Wage Rates
Evidence concerning prevalent annual wage rates of workers' in the array States performing "the same or similar work of workers' exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions" was offered by both parties.The Bargaining Council submitted post-trial Exhibit 274C and the State submitted post-trial Exhibit 362B. These revised exhibits were represented by the parties to contain the most accurate and most carefully verified information offered by the parties. Bargaining unit position minimum and maximum annual pay rates claimed by each party as prevalent are shown as the first and final steps of the pay plans included in these exhibits. This evidence as to comparable wage rates differs for only three positions as follows:
Prevalent Annual Wage Rates
|Classification||(Ex. 274C)||(Ex 362B)||
|Game & Parks|
|Conservation Officer II||minimum||$27,168.00||$ 27,162.85||$ 5.15|
|Game & Parks||minimum||$ 23,024.00||$ 22,816.79||$ 207.21|
|Conservation Officer I||maximum||$ 32,233.00||$ 32,065.32||$ 167.68|
|State Patrol Carrier||minimum||$ 20,847.00||$ 20,540.00||$ 307.00|
|Enforcement Officer||maximum||$ 32,681.00||$ 30,392.27||$2,288.73|
Since the ultimate result of our analyses is not affected by the minor differences reflected in the evidence as to prevalent wages paid, they are not considered significant to our opinion. (The total difference in total compensation for the 64 incumbents in the Carrier Enforcement Officer position, assuming all incumbents to be at maximum, only totals $ 146,478.72.) The Commission accepts the Bargain Council's evidence of annual wage rates as prevalent for purposes of our review:
|State Patrol Carrier||minimum||$20,847.00|
|Game & Parks||minimum||$23,024.00|
|Conservation Officer I||maximum||$32,233.00|
|Game & Parks||minimum||$27,168.00|
|Conservation Officer II||maximum||$38,173.00|
|Fire Marshall Deputy||minimum||$25,226.00|
PREVALENT PAY PLAN
The Special Master found, as we do, that a step pay plan was the prevalent practice shown by the admissible evidence presented by the parties. Evaluation of the survey documents contained in Exhibits 95, 96, 97, and 98 indicates that in three of the four States with step pay plans, employees advance on their step pay plan by years of service. Seniority is thus the prevalent practice for advancement along a pay plan. Placement of employees on the pay line is also determined by seniority. See Lincoln Firefighters Ass'n. v. City of Lincoln, 253 Neb. 837, _____ N.W.2d _____ (1998).
Evidence concerning the number of steps and number of years of service required to advance to the highest step was in conflict. We find the most reliable evidence is contained in Exhibits 221 through 225, Exhibits 250 through 257, and Exhibit 274C. Analysis of these Exhibits establishes that the following step-pay plan is prevalent:
State Patrol Trooper I/II
12 years to reach maximum rate
|State Patrol Investigative Officer||12 steps|
|12 years to reach maximum rate|
|State Patrol Sergeant||12 steps|
12 years to reach maximum rate
|State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Officer||14 steps|
|12 years to reach maximum rate|
|Liquor Control Inspector||12 steps|
|12 years to reach maximum rate|
|Game & Parks Conservation Officer I||11 steps|
11 years to reach maximum rate
|Game & Parks Conservation Officer II||11 steps|
|11 years to reach maximum rate|
|Fire Marshall Deputy||14 steps|
|12 years to reach maximum rate|
PREVALENT WAGE/LONGEVITY PAY
To calculate total prevalent wages and longevity pay for the bargaining unit, the Commission made a spreadsheet analysis using information as to each of the 498 employees in the bargaining unit. This basic information was taken primarily from Exhibits 274C and 362B presented to the Commission on 6/2/97. These revised exhibits were, as mentioned above, represented by the parties to contain the most accurate and most carefully verified information offered by the parties.
Based on the Commission's spreadsheet analysis, using the prevalent step pay plan and placing each of the 498 bargaining unit members on the pay plan effective 1/27/97 by the prevalent practice of advancement by years of service, we find that prevalent wages for bargaining unit members for the 1997/1998 contract year total $17,690,671.37.
The evidence establishes that the prevalent practice is to provide longevity pay. Four of the six Array States have longevity pay. The prevalent practice is to provide such pay beginning after 5 years of service with increases in the amount of longevity pay for each additional 5 years up to 25 years of service. The prevalent practice is to provide longevity pay pursuant to the following schedule:
|5 years||$ 300.00|
|10 years||$ 545.00|
|15 years||$ 818.00|
Based on the Commission's spreadsheet analysis using years in service for bargaining unit members effective 1/27/97 as shown on Exhibit 274C and the prevalent schedule set forth above, we calculated longevity pay for the 1997/1998 contract year to total $268,811. If years of service are determined as of 6/2/97 as shown on Exhibit 362B as advocated by the State, our calculations indicate the total would increase by $3,481 to an annual total of $272,292. This difference is not significant for our purposes.
Using an effective date of 1/27/97, prevalent wage/longevity pay for the 1997/1998 pay period is:
|Longevity Pay||$ 268,811.00|
The State used a method to calculate total prevalent wages based on a standard 12-step pay plan for all classifications in the bargaining unit and placement on the next highest step. Neither a standard 12-step pay plan nor placement on the next highest step are prevalent practices. Consequently, the State's calculations are not relevant nor probative. Even so using the State's methods yields a difference in calculating total prevalent wages for the 1997/1998 fiscal year which is also not significant for our purposes.
Using the 12-step pay plan the State used in Exhibit 362B and placement at the next highest step yields $15,810,470.13 total prevalent wages for the 1997/1998 fiscal year. Based on the State's method, which we disapprove, prevalent wage and longevity pay for the 1997/1998 pay period are:
|Longevity Pay||$ 272,292.00|
STATE'S TOTAL FINAL OFFER
Annual Wage Rates
In its final offer, the State proposed an annual 2.75 percent raise in wages for each of the years of the contract period. Adjusting the current annual wage rates to reflect the proposed 2.75 percent increase for the 1997/1998 contract year provides the following schedule of wages:
|State Patrol Trooper I||Hiring Rate||$22,922.00|
|State Patrol Trooper II||Hiring Rate||$26,546.00|
|State Patrol Investigative Officer||Hiring Rate||$26,546.00|
|State Patrol Sergeant||Hiring Rate||$30,678.00|
|State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Officer||Hiring Rate||$22,972.00|
|Liquor Control Inspector||Hiring Rate||$26,546.00|
|Games & Parks Conservation Officer I||Hiring Rate||$22,972.00|
|Games & Parks Conservation Officer II||Hiring Rate||$26,546.00|
|Fire Marshall Deputy||Hiring Rate||$24,695.00|
|Fire Marshall Deputy/Pipeline Safety||Hiring Rate||
|Fire Marshall Deputy Trainee||Hiring Rate||$19,878.00|
Based on the data reflected in the State's spreadsheet analysis of
1996/1997 annual wages for each of the 498 employees in the
bargaining unit contained in pages 2 through 12 of Exhibits 361B and
363B, with the addition of a 2.75 percent raise for each classification,
we calculate the State's total final offer of wages for the 1997/1998
fiscal year to be as follows:
TOTAL OFFER BY CLASSIFICATION
|Classification||Total Wages||Total Wages|
|State Patrol Trooper I||$ 884,236.56||$ 908,553.07|
|State Patrol Trooper II||$ 5,822,007.84||$ 5,982,113.06|
|State Patrol Investigative Officer||$ 2,067,988.80||
|State Patrol Sergeant||$ 2,762,289.24||$ 2,838,252.19|
|State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Officer||$ 1,584,645.40||$ 1,628,223.15|
|Liquor Control Inspector||$ 110,418.60||$ 113,455.11|
|Games & Parks Conservation Officer I||$ 89,427.84||$ 91,887.11|
|Games & Parks Conservation Officer II||$ 1,481,205.00||$ 1,521,938.14|
|Fire Marshall Deputy||$ 623,224.16||
Fire Marshall Deputy Pipeline Safety
|$ 55,404.96||$ 56,928.60|
BARGAINING COUNCIL'S FINAL OFFER
StepPay Plan Wage Rates
The Bargaining Council's Final Offer proposed a step pay plan which for pay administration purposes joined the State Patrol Trooper I and Trooper II classifications and the Game and Parks Conservation Officer I and Conservation Officer II classifications into two combined classifications titled Trooper I/II and Conservation Officer I/II. These step pay plans for each of the fiscal years of the biennium are set forth in Appendix 3, the Bargaining Council's Final Offer, at Appendix F. The minimum and maximum wage rates proposed in the Bargaining Council's Step Pay Plan are as follows:
|State Patrol Trooper I/II||minimum||$ 24,648.00|
|State Patrol Investigative Officer||minimum||$ 32,822.40|
|State Patrol Sergeant||minimum||$ 33,384.00|
|State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Officer||minimum||$ 21,590.40|
|Liquor Control Inspector Officer I/II||minimum||$ 32,822.40|
|Games & Parks Conservation Officer I/II||minimum||$ 24,232.00|
|Fire Marshall Deputy||minimum||$ 25,126.40|
|Fire Marshall Deputy Pipeline Safety||minimum||$ 25,126.40|
|Fire Marshall Deputy Trainee||
TOTAL WAGES BY CLASSIFICATION
The Bargaining Council's total proposed wage increase for the 1997/1998 fiscal year is set forth in Exhibit 11, at Special Master Exhibit U43, as follows:
|State Patrol Trooper I/II||$ 7,467,678.00|
|State Patrol Investigative Officer||$ 2,893,529.00|
|State Patrol Sergeant||$ 3,146,686.00|
|State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Officer||$ 1,695,436.00|
|Liquor Control Inspector||$ 137,904.00|
|Game & Parks Conservation Officer I/II||
|Fire Marshall Deputy||
In addition to these wages, the Bargaining Council's wage package included longevity pay. The Bargaining Council's calculation of longevity pay pursuant to its final offer is contained in Exhibit 11, at Special Master Exhibit U46. This will result in additional pay for the 413 bargaining unit members who are entitled to longevity pay in the 1997/1998 fiscal year.
|5 years||.06||138||$ 17,222.00|
|10 years||.17||91||$ 32,178.00|
|15 years||.28||85||$ 46,768.00|
|25 years||.41||43||$ 36,670.00|
The total wages and longevity pay proposed in the Bargaining Council's Final Offer for the 1997/1998 fiscal year are:
|Longevity Pay||$ 182,342|
COMPARISON OF FINAL OFFERS AND
PREVALENT WAGES/LONGEVITY PAY
The relationships of the final offers of the Bargaining Council and the State to the rates of pay (including longevity pay)are as follows:
|Prevalent Wages||Bargain Council's|
|States Final Offer||& Longevity||Final Offer|
Even accepting the pay rates advocated by the States as prevalent and assuming the greatest possible effect such rates could have on this analysis the prevalent rates of pay fall between the final offers of the parties. Under this evidence Section 81-1383 requires the Commission to show significance deference to the Special Master's ruling.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT the Special Master's ruling be sustained and that, pursuant to the State Employees Collective Bargaining Act, the parties implement the final offers found by the Special Master as most reasonable.
All judges assigned to the panel in this case join in this Findings and Order.
Entered March 11, 1998.
NOTE: THE APPENDICES HAVE NOT BEEN PUBLISHED. ANYONE WISHING TO SEE THE APPENDICES CAN OBTAIN A COPY FROM THE COMMISSION UPON REQUEST.