For those school districts who will be involved in negotiations in 2020, now is the time to start your preparations and draft proposals. Of course, knowing exactly what to propose is usually an amalgam of available resources coupled with trends and expectations. One of the best locations to gather information on a variety of negotiating trends in Ohio is from the State Employment Relations Board’s (SERB) website. SERB maintains a variety of reports and contracts that schools (and unions) can access for the most recent wage settlements, insurance reports and contract data summary information. Also, since all public sector employers are required to file their collective bargaining agreements with SERB, sample contract language is readily available.

Importantly, SERB reports are not only searchable, but are broken down by regions, public sector and, for schools, the type of union (certificated or classified). By carefully scrutinizing SERB reports, a school district can not only identify financial or language trends but manage some of the parties’ expectations at the table. SERB also publishes its administrative decisions on its website, such as unfair labor practice charges and union representation elections. Previous board opinions are available as well as links to the Ohio statutes that govern collective bargaining. SERB, as part of its statutory mission, offers several levels of training to Ohio public sector employers and employees on negotiations, impasse, fact-finding and managing exempt employees in the classified civil service and non-exempt employees in the classified service.

Before your district negotiates this year, remember to check SERB’s website for reliable, up-to-date information that could make the bargaining process a little bit easier!

Also on the topic of collective bargaining, it’s not too late to sign up for OSBA’s Introduction to Collective Bargaining workshop, to be held on Monday, Feb. 24. It’s a comprehensive overview for beginners but contains lots of practical tips and tricks for veteran negotiators as well. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Van D. Keating on 2/21/2020