CHAPTER 298

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO EDUCATION BY PROVIDING FOR NEGOTIATIONS AND RELATIONS BETWEEN BOARDS OF EDUCATION AND ORGANIZATIONS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEES.

WHEREAS, certified professional employees of the public school system of this State are presently prohibited from organizing and bargaining under Chapter 13, Title 19, Delaware Code;

NOW, THEREFORE,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Title 14, Delaware Code, is amended by adding a new chapter thereto as follows:

CHAPTER 40

PROFESSIONAL NEGOTIATIONS AND RELATIONS

§ 4001. Definition of terms

As used herein:

(a) "Employee organization" means any organization of certified employees of a public school district and which has as one of its purposes the representation of such employees in their relations with the Board of Education of the district.

(b) "School district" means any school district or reorganized school district of the State.

(c) "Public school employee" means any certificated non-administrative employee employed by a school district. Supervisory or staff personnel shall not be included within the meaning of the term "public school employee" as used herein.

§ 4002. Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to promote the improvement of personnel management and employer-employee relationships within the public school system by recognizing the right of the public employees to join organizations of their own choice and to be represented by such organizations in their professional and employment relationships with Boards of Education. To this end, a free and open exchange of views between the Board of Education of the school district and public school employees is deemed desirable and in the public interest.

§ 4003. Public school employees organizations

(a) Public school employees have the right to join any organization for their professional or economic improvement, but membership in any specific organization shall not be required as a condition of employment.

(b) Organizations that seek to represent a certificated school district employee in Professional negotiations shall so specify on membership applications.

(c) Dues shall be deducted by the employer for organizations representing employees only with the request and assent of the employee in writing.

§ 4004. Certification of exclusive negotiating representative

(a) Any employee organization may petition the Board of Education for certification as the exclusive negotiating representative of the public school employees of a school district. Any such petition shall be dated and shall have annexed to it a list of the current members of said employee organization, certified as correct by an officer of said employee organization authorized to make such certification, and delivered to the Secretary of the Board of Education. Copies of such petition (but not of the list of members) shall be posted on the door of every school house in the district and in one other prominent place inside each school house in the district. The original petition, including list of members, shall be filed with the Secretary of the Board of Education for permanent record. Employee organizations shall submit promptly for inspection of the Board of Education, all of its membership applications in order that the Board may be definitively assured that a majority of the membership of the employee organization have indicated their desire to be represented by the organization in collective bargaining negotiations, as prescribed by Section 4003 (b) hereof.

(b) In the event the Board of Education determines that a majority of its public school employees are listed as members of said organization, and the majority of such members have indicated a desire to be represented by the employee organization in collective bargaining negotiations as prescribed by Section 4003 (b) hereof, the Board of Education shall certify in writing not less than thirty days and not later than forty-five days after the filing and posting of said petition, that said organization is the exclusive negotiating representative of the public school employees of the school district, unless within said thirty day period a petition requesting the holding of an election is filed as hereinafter provided.

(c) If within 30 days after the filing and posting of said petition at least 30 percent of the total number of the public school employees of the school district file with the Secretary of the Board of Education a petition requesting that an election be held to determine the exclusive negotiating representative, such election shall be held not less than 30 days of receipt of the petition by the Secretary of the Board of Education, between the dates of September 1 and June 15.

(d) The local Board of Education may order an election to determine the exclusive negotiating representative.

(e) In the event that the Board of Education determines in good faith that an organization does not have the requisite membership for certification, or that an organization does not have the right to an election under Section 4004 (c), the organization shall have the right to appeal within thirty (30) days to the State Board of Education.

§ 4005. Conduct of election

(a) Whenever an election to determine the exclusive negotiating representative shall be held it shall be the responsibility of the Board of Education to conduct the election, to set the time, location (locations) of the polls and to act as officers or to appoint officers, except that no officer appointed shall be a member of any organization that appears on the ballot.

(b) The ballot at said election shall contain the name of the employee organization which filed the petition under § 4004 (a) and the name of any other employee organization which, not less than 20 days before said election, files with the Secretary of the Board of Education written certified evidence of membership enrollment of at least 30 percent of the total members of public school employees of the school district. The ballot shall also contain an appropriate space for the public school employee to indicate "No negotiating unit desired."

(c) When an election is held the exclusive negotiating representative shall not be certified which does not receive an affirmative vote by a majority of the total number of public school employees eligible to vote in the election.

(d) An employee organization denied certification in an election as the exclusive negotiating representative of the public school employees of a school district under the provisions of this section shall be ineligible to petition said school district under Section 4004 for a period of one year from the date of such denial.

§ 4006. Exclusive negotiating representative

(a) An organization certified as the exclusive negotiating representative shall have the right to be the exclusive negotiating representative of public school employees of the school district in all matters relating to salaries, employee benefits, and working conditions.

(a-1) For the purpose of this Act:

"Salaries" are defined as the direct compensation of the employee for his (her) professional services.

"Employee benefits" are defined as those items contributing to the employee's welfare, paid by the local school district and are not subject to income taxation of the employee, i.e., medical and life insurance. "Employee benefits" also include a "dues check-off" system.

"Working conditions" are defined as physical condition of facilities in the school district building such as, but not limited to heat, lighting, sanitation, and food processing.

(b) Professional Relations. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed as to prohibit the Board of Education and the exclusive negotiating representative from mutually agreeing upon other matters for discussion, except as prohibited in Section 4011 (c).

(c) The certification of an exclusive negotiating representation either by election or otherwise, shall be for a minimum period of 24 months from the date of certification. At least 30 calendar days prior to the expiration of said certification, the exclusive negotiating representative may apply for renewal of its certification by submitting a certified count of its members, or any other employee organization may apply for certification as the exclusive negotiating representative of the public school employees as provided for in §4004 or 30 percent of the total number of the other school employees of the school district may petition for a new election as provided for in § 4004 (c).

§ 4007. Rights of individual employees

Nothing in this Act shall prohibit any certificated employee from appearing in his own behalf on matters relating to his employment relations with the school district.

§ 4008. Obligations of both parties

(a) The Board of Education or its representative and the exclusive negotiating representative of the public school employees, through their designated officials or representatives, and upon the request of either party, shall have the duty to negotiate in good faith with respect to salaries, employee benefits, and working conditions.

(b) Such duties shall also include the obligation of the Board of Education or its representative and the exclusive negotiating representative of the public school employees to meet at reasonable times and to confer in good faith with respect to the matters of § 4006 (a) of this chapter.

(c) No contract or agreement executed between the two parties shall specify directly or indirectly binding arbitration or decision-making by a third party or parties. The rights or the public through their legally elected or appointed Board of Education in final policy making is not subject to negotiation.

(d) Any contract or agreement reached between the two parties shall be for a minimum period of two years from the effective date of such contract or agreement and negotiations concerned with the terms of such contract or agreement shall not be reopened during that time.

§ 4009. Rights guaranteed

The Board of Education and/or its designated representative(s) shall not interfere, restrain or coerce employees in the right to organize guaranteed by this Act, and in absence of any certification as the exclusive bargaining representative all organizations seeking to represent public school employees shall be accorded equal treatment with respect to access to such employees.

No representative of any employee organization shall be permitted to solicit membership therein, or to solicit petitions or votes for the purpose of obtaining a collective bargaining agreement, on school property at any time, unless he shall be a bona fide employee of the particular school district involved and a member of the local employee organization whom he purports to represent. All election campaigning on school property during school hours shall be restricted to those areas reserved exclusively for teacher use.

§ 4010. Submission to an impartial committee

Whenever it appears to the Board of Education or the exclusive negotiating representative that a persistent disagreement exists with respect to salaries, employee benefits and working conditions as defined in Section 4006 (a-I) concerning which the parties have been negotiating, either the Board of Education or the exclusive negotiating representative may request mediation by any method mutually agreed upon. In the absence of such an agreement and within 10 clays, the Board of Education and the exclusive negotiating representative should select a mediator by mutual agreement. In the absence of such agreement, and within another 10 days, a mediation committee, which shall consist of three persons, one selected by the exclusive negotiating representative, one selected by the Board of Education, and a third person selected by mutual agreement of both parties, shall be formed. The third person mentioned above will serve as chairman of the mediation committee.

In the event that fact-finding is requested by either party, a fact-finding committee will be selected by the method described above for mediation.

Within 21 calendar days of its existence, the mediation committee will issue a report setting forth the circumstances of the impasse and their recommendations for settling the dispute.

Any costs involved in resolving such an impasse shall be divided equally between the parties.

§ 4011. Observance of teaching contract

(a) It shall be unlawful for any public school employee to engage in any tactic which circumvents any provision of his teaching contract.

() If an employee organization designated as exclusive representative shall violate the provisions hereof, its designation as exclusive representative shall be revoked by the public school employer, and said employee organization and any other employee organization which violates any of the provisions hereof, shall be ineligible to be designated as exclusive representative for a period of two (2) years thereafter. If any employee organization violates the provisions hereof, the public school employer shall refrain from making payroll deductions for that organization's dues for a period of one (1) year thereafter.

(a) No public school employee shall strike while in the performance of his official duties. For purposes of this section the word "strike" shall be deemed an unexcused absence.

§ 4012. Existing agreements

Nothing herein shall be deemed as a termination or invalidation of existing agreements between a Board of Education and an organization of public school employees, except to the extent that they are in conflict with provisions of this chapter.

§ 4013. Other statutes

The Act is intended to be in addition and supplementary to other laws of the State and shall not be construed to repeal any of the other provisions of Title 14, Delaware Code. If there is a conflict between any agreement arising under the provisions of this Act and a provision arising under any other Chapter of this Title, the provision arising under any other Chapter of the Title shall prevail.

Approved October 31, 1969.