16 CIR 215 (2008)


LODGE 20, )
                                  Petitioner, )  
         v. )  
Subdivision of the State of Nebraska, RON NOLTE, JOHN )  
                                  Respondents. )


For Petitioner: Bernard J. Glaser, Jr.
411 South 13th Street, Suite 327
P. O. Box 94902
  Lincoln, NE  68509-4902
For Respondents: Jerry L. Pigsley
  Harding & Shultz P.C., L.L.O.
800 Lincoln Square
  121 S. 13th Street
  P. O. Box 82028
Lincoln, NE  68501-2028

Entered September 17, 2008


A hearing was held on September 15, 2008 before the Honorable Bernard J. McGinn re Petitioner’s motion for Status Quo Order.  Evidence was received and counsel presented their arguments. The Petitioner was represented by Bernard J. Glaser, Jr. and the Respondents were represented by Jerry L. Pigsley.


            A Petition was filed on May 22, 2008, requesting the Commission to determine such findings and fact which are necessary and appropriate (a) to define the industrial dispute existing between the parties and (b) to resolve the industrial dispute including an order requiring good faith bargaining between the parties and an appointment of a mediator and for such other relief as is designed to resolve the industrial dispute. The Petition requested pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-811 and Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-816(1) that the Commission to order commencement of good faith bargaining through the appointment of the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service. On May 29, 2008 the Commission entered a Bargaining and Mediation Order. On August 11, 2008, the Petitioner filed a Motion for Status Quo Hearing to protect the wages, hours, terms and conditions for the year in dispute July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. From February of 2008 through August of 2008, the parties met ten times to discuss wages, benefits, and conditions of employment. In the last two sessions of negotiation, the parties utilized a federal mediator appointed by the Commission. During the last two sessions, the parties spent considerable time discussing the economic and benefit items. On August 19, 2008 at the conclusion of the last session with the mediator, the Respondents declared impasse in negotiations and implemented their final offer.


The Petitioner now requests that the Commission issue a temporary order protecting the Petitioner’s wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment that existed in the contract signed prior to the dispute for the upcoming contract year. The Respondent argues that because the Petition was not filed pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-818 or Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-824 the Commission has no issue pending final resolution before it.

In Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 43 v. City of Sidney, 13 CIR 329 (2000), the Commission upheld the Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss because the Commission’s jurisdiction had not been invoked. In City of Sidney, the Petitioner alleged that an industrial dispute existed since negotiations had broken down and the respondent had unilaterally implemented terms and conditions of employment. The Petition sought an order requiring the parties to resume good faith bargaining concerning matters in dispute and that the Commission should order mediation. The Respondent alleged that the Petition did not allege sufficient facts to invoke the jurisdiction of the Commission under Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-801(7) or Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-816(1).

In City of Sidney, the Commission found that the lawful implementation of a final offer did not terminate an existing industrial dispute. The Commission determined that there was no allegation of bad faith bargaining to which the Commission could issue a good faith bargaining order. Furthermore, the Commission reasoned that it would not order the parties to engage in further fruitless discussions after the parties had bargained to impasse. The Commission held that an order to mediate is dependent upon another form of proper relief being sought during the pendency of a case to resolve an industrial dispute. In sum, the Commission articulated that even though an industrial dispute did exist, the Petition upon which the case was filed did not seek the Commission’s resolution of the dispute. Therefore, the Commission held that it lacked jurisdiction to send the parties to mediation.

Without an appropriate invocation of the Commission’s jurisdiction in City of Sidney, the Commission was left with no relief requested in the petition. Whereas, the Commission hypothesized that if the Petitioner sought relief under §48-818, for example, in addition to requesting mediation under §48-816(1), and mediation was unsuccessful, the case could proceed on the request for relief under §48-818.

The Commission is bound by the legislative authority granted under its statutes. The Commission is not a court of equity and cannot exercise power it does not possess. See, Jolly v. State, 252 Neb. 289, 562 N.W.2d 61 (1997); Transport Workers v. Transit Authority of Omaha, 216 Neb. 455, 344 N.W.2d 459 (1984); University Police Officers Union v. University of Neb., 203 Neb. 4, 277 N.W.2d 529 (1979).

In the instant case, the Petition requests identical relief as seen in City of Sidney. While it is clear that the Petitioner filed the Motion for Status Quo prior to implementation of the final offer of the Respondents, such a motion does not have a basis for legal remedy because it is not tied to a Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-818 or Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-824 Petition or allegation of bad faith bargaining. The Petition in this case does not allege sufficient facts to invoke the jurisdiction of the Commission under Neb. Rev. Stat. §48-801(7).

THE COMMISSION HEREBY FINDS that the Petition does not seek proper relief and does not invoke the Commission’s jurisdiction.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that based upon the limited authority granted to the Commission and in view of all of the above facts and law, the Petitioner’s Motion on Status Quo is overruled.