14 CIR 167 (2003)


                                  Petitioner, )
         vs. ) FINDINGS AND ORDER
                                  Respondent. )


For Petitioner: Roger K. Johnson
506 Main Street
P. O. Box 160
Plattsmouth, NE  68048
For Respondent: Thomas F. Dowd
Dowd & Dowd
1905 Harney Street
Suite 620
Omaha, NE   68102

Before: Judges Burger, Council and Lindahl



On December 5, 2002, the City of Plattsmouth filed a Petition seeking a decertification election to determine whether Respondent should be decertified as the exclusive bargaining agent for a bargaining unit of 19 city employees. The City also requested a temporary order, suspending bargaining pending the outcome of the election. A temporary hearing was conducted on December 19, 2002, at which counsel agreed that the City of Plattsmouth had withdrawn voluntary recognition of the Respondent prior to filing its Petition. Although Respondent elected not to file an Answer, the Commission, on its own motion, raised the issue of subject

matter jurisdiction based upon the statements of counsel at the temporary hearing. After the temporary hearing, the Commission entered an Order to Show Cause on January 28, 2003. At the Show Cause Hearing, the Petitioner was represented by Roger K. Johnson. The Respondent did not enter an appearance at the Show Cause Hearing. These findings and order are the result of the hearing on the Commission’s Order to Show Cause.


The Respondent declined to answer the Petition. Accordingly, the factual allegations of the Petition are generally taken as true by the Commission.

On August 20, 2001, the City of Plattsmouth voluntarily recognized the Respondent as the exclusive bargaining agent for the unit in question of 19 city employees. No certification by the Commission was ever requested, or ordered.

The Petitioner and Respondent entered into a collective bargaining agreement on January 8, 2002, for the period of October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2002. The City alleges a subsequent good faith belief that the Respondent no longer enjoyed majority support of the members of the bargaining unit based upon a written declaration signed by over 80% of the members of the bargaining unit.

The Petition contains no reference to the status of recognition at the time of filing, however, evidence received at the show cause hearing reflects that on October 21, 2002 the City formally withdrew voluntary recognition of the Respondent as the bargaining agent for the employees in the unit.


Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-801(7) defines an industrial dispute as:

Industrial dispute shall include any controversy concerning terms, tenure, or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment, or refusal to discuss terms or conditions of employment.


Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-810 discusses the jurisdiction of the Commission of Industrial Relations as follows:

Except as provided in the State Employees Collective Bargaining Act, industrial disputes involving governmental service, service of a public utility, or other disputes as the Legislature may provide shall be settled by invoking the jurisdiction of the Commission of Industrial Relations.


The Commission’s statutory jurisdiction is to resolve public sector industrial disputes. In the absence of an industrial dispute, the Commission has no subject matter jurisdiction. (See Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 32 v. Lancaster County, 12 CIR 131, 136 (1994) (citing Ny-Lint Tool & Manufacturing Co., 77 NLRB 642, 643, 22 LRRM 1061, 1062 (1948). In the absence of an industrial dispute, any order of the Commission would be merely advisory.

Petitioner’s allegation of a good faith belief in the loss of majority support by Respondent is undisputed. No Answer raising any issues concerning the lawfulness of Petitioner’s withdrawal of voluntary recognition has been filed. As a result of the withdrawal of recognition, the Respondent has at no time during the pendency of this proceeding been the recognized or certified bargaining agent for the unit in question. We conclude that no industrial dispute exists between Petitioner and Respondent for determination by the Commission.


Having determined that no industrial dispute exists, the Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction to grant the relief requested.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Petition of the City of Plattsmouth is dismissed.

Entered February 27, 2003.