4 CIR 226 (1980). Appeal dismissed September 24, 1980.


Unincorporated Association, |
Plaintiff, |
NEBRASKA, A Political Subdivision, |
Defendant. |

BEFORE: Kratz, Wall and Orr, JJ.


This matter comes on for determination of the industrial dispute created by Respondent's refusal to bargain until a procedural agreement for the negotiations had been signed by Petitioner which would have precluded any further negotiation or discussion of items of interest to the parties after a contract had been concluded. We have jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter of the dispute.

There is no material dispute of fact herein.

We first encounter the issue of recognition. Respondent alleges that since the 1978-1979 school year contract was signed March 12, 1979, and since Section 79-1887, R. R. S. 1943, provides for recognition by the board for a one year period, that Petitioner's status as bargaining agent for its certificated mem-

bers expired on March 11, 1980. Such an interpretation would penalize those parties who, in good faith, reached an early resolution of their dispute. Such an interpretation would also leave the teachers union without the authority to represent their members in grievance and other matters arising out of the employment relationship, a right given the union by Section 79-1289 R. R. S. 1943, during the last few months of the school year.

It is apparent that in order to effectuate the policy of the state as expressed both in Section 79-1287 et seq. and Section 48-801 et seq. R. R. S. 1943, that disputes of public employees, and particularly educators, be settled by negotiation and contract rather than litigation, that Section 79-1289 must be read as running either from the end of one school year to the end of the next, or the beginning of one school year to the beginning of the next. It is not necessary for us to decide which at this point, since in either event the recognition continues through the time period material herein.

Respondent concedes that it could not require the signature by the union of the agreement to foreclose discussion of matters arising during the year as a condition to bargaining. It is apparent that an attempt to foreclose the union from discussion of items of interest to the educators in the unit during the period of the contract violates Section 79-1289 R.R.S. 1943 by preventing the union from representing its members. It is equally apparent that a clause (as found in PX 8) in the final contract, foreclosing further negotiations concerning matters settled by the contract, is perfectly proper and in accord with the public policy to maintain stability in labor-management relations.

The Petitioner conceeds that the question of calendar adjustment - such as starting classes a day early to provide an administrative day later in the year, or providing for half day classes at the end of the term at the secondary level, in order to provide administrative time to complete records - is now moot, since the calendar for 1980 - 1981 has already been adopted.

Section 79-1254.05 R. R. S. 1943, required each school board to adopt a reduction in force policy before January 1, 1979. Elsewhere in the labor-management relations field, the use of the word "policy" has been deemed to confer a management prerogative.

We conclude that the structuring of a reduction in force policy is a management prerogative and not bargainable, but that the impact of such policy on the economic welfare of the employees is mandatorily bargainable. See Metropolitan Tech Community College Ed Assn v. Metropolitan Tech , 203 Neb. 832, 218 N. W. 2d 201, 206 (1979).

ORDERED, that the parties shall forthwith resume good faith bargaining on salaries, insurance coverage, summer school salaries, and the economic impact of the district's reduction in force policy negotiations.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that unless there is a request by either party for further consideration by the commission, that this matter is found to be completely and fully adjudicated by the commission.

Filed May 5, 1980.