§ 4001 Statement of policy.
It is the declared policy of the State and the purpose of this chapter to promote harmonious and cooperative relationships between reorganized public school districts and their employees and to protect the public by assuring the orderly and uninterrupted operations and functions of the public school system. These policies are best effectuated by:
(1) Granting to school employees the right of organization and representation;
(2) Obligating boards of education and school employee organizations which have been certified as representing their school employees to enter into collective bargaining negotiations with the willingness to resolve disputes relating to terms and conditions of employment and to reduce to writing any agreements reached through such negotiations; and
(3) Establishing a public employment relations board to assist in resolving disputes between school employees and boards of education and to administer this chapter.
§ 4002 Definitions.
(a) “Appropriate bargaining unit” or “bargaining unit” means a group of school employees designated by the Public Employment Relations Board as appropriate for representation by an employee organization for purposes of collective bargaining.
(b) “Arbitration” means the procedure whereby the parties involved in a labor dispute over the interpretation or application of an existing collective bargaining agreement submit their differences to a third party for a final and binding decision.
(c) “Binding interest arbitration” means the procedure by which the Public Employment Relations Board shall make written findings of fact and a decision for final and binding resolution of an impasse arising out of collective bargaining.
(d) “Board” means the Public Employment Relations Board established by § 4006 of this title.
(e) “Certification” means official recognition by the Board, following a secret-ballot election, that an employee organization is the exclusive representative for all employees in an appropriate bargaining unit.
(f) “Collective bargaining” means the performance of the mutual obligation of a school employer through its designated representatives and the exclusive bargaining representative to confer and negotiate in good faith with respect to terms and conditions of employment, and to execute a written contract incorporating any agreements reached. However, this obligation does not compel either party to agree to a proposal or require the making of a concession.
(g) “Confidential employee” means any employee whose essential job function and advanced knowledge about the issues involved in collective bargaining would make it unduly burdensome for the employer to negotiate effectively if the employee were a member of an appropriate bargaining unit.
(h) “Decertification” means the withdrawal by the Board of an employee organization’s official designation as exclusive representative following a decertification election which shows that the exclusive representative no longer has the support of a majority of the members in an appropriate bargaining unit.
(i) “Employee organization” means any organization which admits to membership employees of a public school employer and which has as a purpose the representation of such employees in collective bargaining, and includes any person acting as an officer, representative or agent of said organization.
(j) “Exclusive bargaining representative” or “exclusive representative” means the employee organization which as a result of certification by the Board has the right and responsibility to be the collective bargaining agent of all employees in that bargaining unit.
(k) “Fair share fee” means a fee that a nonmember shall be required to pay to the exclusive representative to offset the nonmember’s per capita share of the exclusive representative’s expenditures. Such fee shall be equal in amount to regular membership dues that a member of the exclusive representative is required to pay, including payments to the exclusive representative’s affiliated organizations, or such lesser amount as is prescribed by the exclusive representative in compliance with the procedures contained herein.
(l) “Impasse” means the failure of a public school employer and the exclusive bargaining representative to reach agreement in the course of collective bargaining.
(m) “Mediation” means an effort by an impartial third party confidentially to assist in reconciling an impasse between the public school employer and the exclusive bargaining representative regarding terms and conditions of employment.
(n) “Nonmember” means an employee of a public school employer who is not a member of the exclusive representative, but who is represented in a collective bargaining unit by the exclusive representative for purposes of collective bargaining.
(o) “Public school administrator” means and includes all public school employees performing primarily administrative functions and employed under an administrative contract by a public school district.
(p) “Public school employee” or “employee” means any employee of a public school employer except public school administrators and confidential employees of a public school employer; provided the exclusive representative of designated appropriate bargaining units certified under Title 19 informs the Secretary of Labor, the Executive Director of the Board and the public school employer in writing, by certified mail, that it elects coverage under the provisions of this chapter; or provided that an employee organization has submitted a petition on behalf of public school employees pursuant to § 4010 or § 4011 of this chapter which includes a request to be covered under the provisions of this chapter prior to the submission of a similar petition pursuant to § 1304 or § 1305 of Title 19.
(q) “Public school employer” or “employer” means any board of education, school district, reorganized school district, special school district, and any person acting as an agent thereof.
(r) “Strike” means a public school employee’s failure, in concerted action with others, to report for duty, or that employee’s wilful absence from that employee’s position, or that employee’s stoppage or deliberate slowing down of work, or that employee’s withholding in whole or in part from the full, faithful and proper performance of that employee’s duties of employment, or that employee’s involvement in a concerted interruption of operations of a public school employer for the purpose of inducing, influencing or coercing a change in the conditions, compensation rights, privileges or obligations of public school employment; however, nothing shall limit or impair the right of any public school employee to lawfully express or communicate a complaint or opinion on any matter related to terms and conditions of employment.
(s) “Supervisory employee” means any employee of a public school employer who has the authority, in the interest of the public school employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection with the foregoing, the exercise of such authority is not merely routine or clerical in nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.
(t) “Terms and conditions of employment” means matters concerning or related to wages, salaries, donated leave program or programs in compliance with Chapter 13 of this title, hours, grievance procedures and working conditions; provided, however, that such term shall not include those matters determined by this chapter or any other law of the State to be within the exclusive prerogative of the public school employer.
14 Del. C. 1953, § 4001; 57 Del. Laws, c. 298; 63 Del. Laws, c. 333, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 404, §§ 1-3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 199, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 136, § 4; 76 Del. Laws, c. 196, § 1.;
§ 4003 School employee rights.
School employees shall have the right to:
(1) Organize, form, join or assist any employee organization, provided that membership in, or an obligation resulting from collective bargaining negotiations to pay any dues, fees, assessments or other charges to an employee organization shall not be required as a condition of employment for certified professional school employees.
(2) Negotiate collectively or grieve through representatives of their own choosing.
(3) Engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection insofar as any such activity is not prohibited by this chapter or any other law of the State.
(4) Be represented by their exclusive representative, if any, without discrimination.
§ 4004 Employee organization as exclusive representative.
(a) The employee organization designated or selected for the purpose of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in an appropriate collective bargaining unit shall be the exclusive representative of all the employees in the unit for such purpose and shall have the duty to represent all unit employees without discrimination. Where an exclusive representative has been certified, a public school employer shall not bargain in regard to matters covered by this chapter with any employee, group of employees or other employee organization.
(b) Nothing contained in this section shall prevent employees individually, or as a group, from presenting complaints to a public school employer and from having such complaints adjusted without the intervention of the exclusive representative for the bargaining unit of which they are a part, as long as the representative is given an opportunity to be present at such adjustment and to make its view known, and as long as the adjustment is not inconsistent with the terms of an agreement between the public school employer and the exclusive representative which is then in effect. The right of the exclusive representative shall not apply where the complaint involves matters of personal, embarrassing and confidential nature, and the complainant specifically requests, in writing, that the exclusive representative not be present.
(c) Any employee organization which has been certified as an exclusive representative shall have the right to have its dues deducted and collected by the employer from the salaries of those employees, within the bargaining unit, who authorize, in writing, the deduction of said dues. Such authorization is revocable at the employee’s written request, provided that said revocation shall not be effective until the next ensuing August 31 after the employer’s receipt of the written notice. Said deductions shall commence upon the exclusive representative’s written request to the employer. Such right to deduction shall be in force for so long as the employee organization remains the exclusive bargaining representative for the employees in the unit. The public school employer is expressly prohibited from any involvement in the collection of fines, penalties or special assessments levied on members by the exclusive representative.
§ 4005 School employer rights.
A public school employer is not required to engage in collective bargaining on matters of inherent managerial policy, which include, but are not limited to, such areas of discretion or policy as the functions and programs of the public school employer, its standards of services, overall budget, utilization of technology, the organizational structure, curriculum, discipline and the selection and direction of personnel.
§ 4006 Public Employment Relations Board.
(a) There is hereby established a board to be known as the “Public Employment Relations Board,” the purpose of which shall be to administer this chapter under rules and regulations which it shall adopt and publish. The Board shall be organizationally located within the Department of State; however, in the performance of its powers and duties under this chapter, the Board shall not be subject to control, supervision or direction by the Department of State or by an officer thereof.
(b) The Board shall consist of 3 members to be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate, from persons representative of the public. One member shall be designated by the Governor as Chair, and the Chair shall serve a fixed term. Not more than 2 members of the Board shall be members of the same political party. Each member shall be appointed for a term of 6 years, except that the initial appointments shall be: 1 member shall be appointed for a term that shall expire 2 years following the effective date of this chapter, 1 member for a term that shall expire 4 years following the effective date of this chapter, and the Chair for a term that shall expire 6 years following the effective date of this chapter. A member appointed to fill a vacancy shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the member whom the appointed member is to succeed. Any member of the Board may be removed by the Governor for misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in office, after a hearing before an impartial designee of the Governor. A vacancy in the Board shall not impair the right of the remaining members to exercise all the powers of the Board. Two members of the Board shall, at all times, constitute a quorum, but official orders shall require concurrence of a majority of the Board. Board members shall be eligible for reappointment.
(c) Members of the Board shall be knowledgeable in the area of labor relations and shall possess the reputation for integrity and impartiality necessary to protect the public interest.
(d) Members shall hold no other public office or employment by the State or other public agency or public employer, or be an officer or employee of any public employee labor organization or any of its affiliates, or represent any public employer or public employee organization or its affiliates; however, this restriction shall not be interpreted to exclude persons who are knowledgeable in employment relations, public administration or labor law so long as they are not actively engaged, other than as a member, in any management or employee organization.
(e) The Chair of the Board shall receive a per diem stipend of $110, and each of the other members shall receive a per diem stipend of $100. Each member of the Board shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary travel and subsistence expenses when performing Board business away from that member’s place of residence.
(f) The Board shall appoint an Executive Director who shall be the chief administrative officer. The Executive Director shall be a person familiar with employer-employee relations. In addition to the performance of administrative duties, the Board may delegate to the Executive Director authority with respect to, but not limited to, bargaining unit determination and representation proceedings, unfair labor practice proceedings, mediation of labor disputes, and binding interest arbitration proceedings. Such delegation shall not limit a party’s right to appeal to the Board. The Executive Director, with such assistance as may be provided by the Attorney General and such additional legal assistance which, from time to time, may be necessary, shall have authority on behalf of the Board, when necessary, to carry out or enforce any action or decision of the Board, to petition any court of competent jurisdiction for any order requiring compliance with the action or decision.
(g) The Board may employ such other persons as it may, from time to time, find necessary for the proper performance of its functions within the amounts made available through appropriations therefor, and may prescribe their duties and fix their compensation.
(h) To accomplish the objectives and to carry out the duties prescribed in this chapter, the Board shall have the following powers:
(1) To issue, amend and rescind such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to carry out this chapter and to prevent any person from engaging in conduct in violation of this chapter. Such rules and regulations shall be adopted in accordance with Chapter 101 of Title 29.
(2) To hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and take the testimony or deposition of any person under oath, and in connection therewith, to issue subpoenas requiring the production and examination of any books or papers, including those of the State and/or a board of education relating to any matter pending before it, and to take such other action, including the granting of interim or other relief as may be necessary to discharge its powers and duties. In no case, however, should it be empowered, either directly or through a fact-finder, to mandate to the public school employer action which involves an economic cost to the public school employer.
(3) To conduct in any part of this State any proceeding, hearing, investigation, inquiry or election necessary to the performance of its functions. In carrying out the purposes of this chapter, the Board may designate 1 of its members or an agent or agents as hearing examiner or examiners.
(4) To provide by rule a procedure for the filing and prompt disposition of petitions for a declaratory statement as to the applicability of any provision of this chapter or any rule or order of the Board. Such procedures shall provide for, but not be limited to, an expeditious determination of questions relating to potential unfair labor practices and to questions relating to whether a matter in dispute is within the scope of collective bargaining.
(5) To request from any public agency such assistance, services and data as will enable the Board to properly carry out its functions and powers.
(6) At the end of each year, to make a report in writing to the Governor and the General Assembly and detail the work it has done in hearing and deciding cases.
(7) To adopt an official seal and prescribe the purposes for which it shall be used.
§ 4007 Unfair labor practices — Enumerated.
(a) It is an unfair labor practice for a public school employer or its designated representative to do any of the following:
(1) Interfere with, restrain or coerce any employee in or because of the exercise of any right guaranteed under this chapter.
(2) Dominate, interfere with or assist in the formation, existence or administration of any labor organization.
(3) Encourage or discourage membership in any employee organization by discrimination in regard to hiring, tenure or other terms and conditions of employment.
(4) Discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has signed or filed an affidavit, petition or complaint, or has given information or testimony under this chapter.
(5) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with an employee representative which is the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit.
(6) Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of this chapter or with rules and regulations established by the Board pursuant to its responsibility to regulate the conduct of collective bargaining under this chapter.
(7) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.
(8) Refuse to disclose any public record as defined by Chapter 100 of Title 29.
(b) It is unfair labor practice for a public school employee or for an employee organization or its designated representative to do any of the following:
(1) Interfere with, restrain or coerce any employee in or because of the exercise of any right guaranteed under this chapter.
(2) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the public employer or its designated representative if the employee organization is an exclusive representative.
(3) Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of this chapter or with rules and regulations established by the Board pursuant to its responsibility to regulate the conduct of collective bargaining under this chapter.
(4) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.
(5) Distribute organizational literature or otherwise solicit public school employees during working hours in areas where the actual work of public school employees is being performed in such a way as to hinder or interfere with the operation of the public school employer. This paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit the distribution of literature during the employee’s lunch hour or duty-free lunch period or in such areas not specifically devoted to the performance of the employee’s official duties.
(6) Hinder or prevent (by threats, intimidation, force or coercion of any kind) the pursuit of any lawful work or employment by any person, or unreasonably interfere with the entrance to or egress from any place of employment.
(7) Instigate or advocate support, in any positive manner, for an employee organization’s activities from students on school property.
§ 4008 Unfair labor practices — Disposition of complaints.
(a) The Board is empowered and directed to prevent any unfair labor practice and to issue appropriate remedial orders. Whenever it is charged that anyone has engaged or is engaging in any unfair practice as described in § 4007(a) and (b) of this title, the Board or any designated agent thereof shall have authority to issue and cause to be served upon such party a complaint stating the specific unfair practice charge and including a notice of hearing containing the date and place of hearing before the Board or any designated agent thereof. Evidence shall be taken and filed with the Board; provided, that no complaint shall issue based on any unfair labor practice occurring more than 180 days prior to the filing of the charge with the Board.
(b) If, upon all the evidence taken, the Board shall determine that any party charged has engaged or is engaging in any such unfair practice, the Board shall state its findings of fact and conclusions of law and issue and cause to be served on such party an order requiring such party to cease and desist from such unfair practice, and to take such reasonable affirmative action as will effectuate the policies of this chapter, such as payment of damages and/or the reinstatement of employee. If, upon the evidence taken, the Board shall determine that any party charged has not engaged or is not engaging in any such unfair practice, the Board shall state, in writing, its findings of fact and conclusions of law and issues and dismiss the complaint.
(c) In addition to the powers granted by this section, the Board shall have the power, at any time during proceedings authorized by this section, to issue orders providing such temporary or preliminary relief as the Board deems just and proper.
§ 4009 Unfair labor practices — Appeals; petitions for enforcement.
(a) Any person adversely affected by a decision of the Board under § 4008 or § 4015 of this title may appeal that decision to the Chancery Court of this State. Such an appeal must be filed within 15 days of the date upon which the decision was rendered and shall not automatically act as a stay.
(b) The Board may petition the Chancery Court of this State for enforcement of any order issued under § 4008 or § 4015 of this title.
§ 4010 Bargaining unit determination.
(a) An employee organization desiring to be certified as the exclusive representative shall file a petition with the Board, accompanied by the uncoerced signatures of at least 30 percent of the public school employees in the unit claimed to be appropriate, indicating a desire to be represented for the purpose of bargaining collectively with the public employer.
(b) If the Board or its duly authorized designee determines that a petition is properly filed and is accompanied by the requisite number of valid signatures, the Board or its designee shall proceed toward defining the appropriate bargaining unit by setting a date for hearing on the matter. If a petition is not properly filed and/or if it is not accompanied by the requisite number of valid signatures, the Board or its designee shall dismiss the petition.
(c) After holding such hearings as it deems necessary the Board shall determine the appropriate bargaining unit. The Board may, by rule, delegate its unit definition authority to 1 or more of its members or to its Executive Director, provided that a unit definition order may be subject to review by the Board at the request of any party or upon the Board’s own motion in accordance with rules and procedures established by the Board.
(d) In making its determination as to the appropriate bargaining unit, the Board or its designee shall consider such factors as the similarity of duties, skills and working conditions of the employees involved; the history and extent of the employee organization; the recommendations of the parties involved; the effect of overfragmentation of bargaining units on the efficient administration of government; and such other factors as the Board may deem appropriate. The Board or its designee shall separate supervisory and nonsupervisory employees into separate appropriate bargaining units for all units created subsequent to July 18, 1990. The Board shall include positions commonly referred to as positions for extra-pay-for-extra-responsibility in the professional bargaining unit for the sole purpose of bargaining the salary for these positions and any other provision mutually agreed to by the parties.
(e) Procedures for redefining or modifying a unit shall be set forth in the rules and procedures established by the Board.
(f) Any bargaining unit designated as appropriate prior to the effective date of this chapter, for which an exclusive representative has been certified, shall so continue without the requirement of a review and possible redesignation until such time as a question concerning appropriateness is properly raised under this chapter. The appropriateness of the unit may be challenged by the public school employer, 30 percent of the members of the unit, an employee organization, or the Board not more than 180 days nor less than 120 days prior to the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement in effect on the date of the passage of this chapter. The continued appropriateness of any bargaining unit designated as appropriate prior to the effective date of this chapter, for which an exclusive representative is not certified, may be challenged by the public school employer, 30 percent of the members of the unit, an employee organization, or the Board at any time up until 30 days prior to the holding of an election to determine representation.
§ 4011 Determination and certification of exclusive representative.
(a) Any employee organization seeking certification as exclusive representative in a designated appropriate bargaining unit shall file a petition with the Board. The petition must contain the uncoerced signatures of at least 30 percent of the employees within the designated appropriate bargaining unit. If the designated appropriate bargaining unit is sufficiently similar to the bargaining unit claimed to be appropriate in the petition filed pursuant to § 4010(a) of this title, such that the signatures submitted at that time represent at least 30 percent of the employees within the designated appropriate bargaining unit, those signatures shall be deemed sufficient for the purpose of this subsection. If the designated bargaining unit is not sufficiently similar to the bargaining unit claimed to be appropriate, the employee organization may continue to rely on the previously submitted uncoerced signatures of the employees who are in the designated bargaining unit and must supplement these signatures with uncoerced signatures of other employees within the designated appropriate bargaining unit, such that the signatures submitted represent at least 30 percent of the employees within the designated appropriate bargaining unit. No signature shall be considered valid if it was signed more than 12 months prior to the date on which the petition is filed.
(b) Where an employee organization has been certified as the exclusive representative, a group of employees within the bargaining unit may file a petition with the Board for decertification of the exclusive bargaining representative. The petition must contain the uncoerced signatures of at least 30 percent of the employees within the bargaining unit and allege that the employee organization presently certified is no longer the choice of the majority of the employees in the bargaining unit. If a lawful collective bargaining agreement of no more than 3 years’ duration is in effect, no petition shall be entertained unless filed not more than 180 days nor less than 120 days prior to the expiration of such agreement. A decertification petition also may be filed if more than 1 year has elapsed from the date of certification of an exclusive bargaining representative and no collective bargaining agreement has been executed.
(c) If the Board determines that a petition is properly supported, timely filed and covers the designated appropriate bargaining unit, the Board shall cause an election of all eligible employees to be held within a reasonable time after the unit determination has been made, in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board, to determine if and by whom the employees wish to be represented. The election ballot shall contain, as choices to be made by the voter, the name of the petitioning or certified employee organization, the name or names of any other employee organization showing written proof of at least 10 percent representation of the public school employees within the designated appropriate bargaining unit, in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the Board, and a choice that the public school employee does not desire to be represented by any of the named employee organization or organizations.
(d) The employee organization, if any, which receives the majority of the votes cast in an election shall be certified by the Board as the exclusive representative. In any election where there are more than 2 choices on the ballot and none of the choices receives a majority of the votes cast, a run-off election shall be conducted. The ballot in the run-off election shall contain the 2 choices on the original ballot that received the largest number of votes.
(e) No election shall be held pursuant to this section within 12 months from the date of a preceding valid election.
§ 4012 Employee organizations required to register and submit annual reports.
Every employee organization which has or seeks recognition as a representative of public school employees under this chapter shall file with the Board a registration report, signed by its president or other appropriate officer. Such report shall be updated on an annual basis by any organization which continues to have or seeks recognition, shall be in a form prescribed by the Board and shall be accompanied by 2 copies of the employee organization’s constitution and bylaws. All changes or amendments to such constitutions and bylaws shall be promptly reported to the Board.
§ 4013 Collective bargaining agreements.
(a) Collective bargaining shall commence at least 90 days prior to the expiration date of any current collective bargaining agreement or, in the case of a newly certified exclusive representative, within a reasonable time after certification.
(b) Negotiating sessions, including strategy meetings of public school employers, mediation and the deliberative process of binding interest arbitrators and arbitrators, shall be exempt from Chapter 100 of Title 29. Hearings conducted by binding interest arbitrators shall be open to the public.
(c) For those terms and conditions that are negotiated pursuant to state law, the public school employer and the exclusive bargaining representative shall negotiate written grievance procedures ending in binding arbitration by means of which bargaining unit employees, through their collective bargaining representatives, may appeal the interpretation or application of any term or terms of an existing collective bargaining agreement. The written grievance procedures shall be included in any agreement entered into between the public school employer and the exclusive bargaining representative, and shall include:
(1) A provision to limit binding arbitration to claims that the terms of the collective bargaining agreement have been violated, misinterpreted or misapplied;
(2) A provision to prohibit claims relating to the following matters from being processed through binding arbitration:
a. Dismissal or nonrenewal of employees covered by Chapter 14 of this title;
b. Dismissal or nonrenewal of employees not covered by Chapter 14 of this title, unless the controlling collective bargaining agreement provides that such matters are subject to binding arbitration;
c. Delaware law;
d. Rules and regulations of the Delaware Department of Education or State Board of Education;
e. The content of or conclusions reached in employee observations and evaluations unless the controlling collective bargaining agreement for employees not covered by Chapter 14 of this title provides that such matters are subject to binding arbitration;
f. Federal law;
g. Rules and regulations of the United States Department of Education;
h. Policies of the local school board; and
i. Matters beyond the scope of the public school employer’s authority;
(3) A provision to select arbitrators by lottery from a panel of qualified arbitrators designated by the Public Employment Relations Board. In designating the panel, the Public Employment Relations Board shall prefer former judges who served on a Delaware constitutional court or on the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, and shall supplement the panel by adding qualified labor arbitrators;
(4) A provision to empower the Public Employment Relations Board to administer arbitrations pursuant to regulations adopted by the Public Employment Relations Board;
(5) A provision to require that disputes relating to whether a matter is arbitrable be ruled upon by the arbitrator prior to hearing the merits of the dispute, and, if the arbitrator determines that the dispute is arbitrable, a provision to require that the same arbitrator schedule a second hearing to hear the merits of the dispute;
(6) A provision to assess against the losing party the arbitrator’s fees and expenses incurred in determining whether a dispute is arbitrable; and
(7) A provision to require that the arbitrator’s fees and expenses incurred in deciding the merits of a dispute be evenly divided between the parties.
(d) Any contract or agreement reached between a public school district and any exclusive representative organization shall be for a minimum period of 2 years from the effective date of such contract or agreement, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon by the public school employer and the exclusive representative.
(e) No collective bargaining agreement shall be valid or enforceable if its implementation would be inconsistent with any statutory limitation on the public school employer’s funds, spending or budget, or would otherwise be contrary to law.
(f) Public school employers shall file with the Board a copy of any agreements that have been negotiated with public school employee representatives following the consummation of negotiations. The Board shall maintain a current file of all such agreements.
§ 4014 Mediation.
(a) If, after a reasonable period of negotiations over the terms of an agreement or after a reasonable time following certification of an exclusive representative, no agreement has been signed, the parties may voluntarily submit to mediation. If, however, no agreement is reached between the parties by 60 days prior to the expiration date of an existing collective bargaining agreement, or, in the case of a newly certified exclusive representative, within 60 days after negotiations have commenced, both parties shall immediately notify the Board of the status of negotiations.
(b) If the parties have not voluntarily agreed to enlist the services of a mediator and less than 30 days remain before the expiration date of the existing collective bargaining agreement, or, in the case of a newly certified exclusive representative, more than 90 days have elapsed since negotiations began, the Board must appoint a mediator if so requested by the public school employer or the exclusive bargaining representative. The mediator shall be chosen from a list of qualified persons maintained by the Board and shall be representative of the public.
(c) If the labor dispute has not been settled after a reasonable period of mediation, during which both parties have made a good faith effort to settle their differences, the parties jointly or individually may petition the Board in writing to initiate binding interest arbitration. In lieu of a petition, the mediator may inform the Board that further negotiations between the parties, at that time, are unlikely to be productive and recommend that binding interest arbitration be initiated. The public school employer and the exclusive bargaining representative may initiate binding interest arbitration at any time, by mutual agreement.
(d) Any costs involved in retaining a mediator to assist the parties in reaching a negotiated agreement shall be paid by the Board.
§ 4015 Binding interest arbitration.
(a) Within 7 working days of receipt of a petition or recommendation to initiate binding interest arbitration, the Board shall make a determination, with or without a formal hearing, as to whether a good faith effort has been made by both parties to resolve their labor dispute through negotiations and mediation and as to whether the initiation of binding interest arbitration would be appropriate and in the public interest.
(b) Pursuant to § 4006(f) of this title, the Board shall appoint the Executive Director or the Executive Director’s designee to act as binding interest arbitrator. Such delegation shall not limit a party’s right to appeal to the Board.
(c) The binding interest arbitrator shall hold hearings in order to define the area or areas of dispute, to determine facts relating to the dispute and to render a decision on unresolved contract issues. The hearings shall be held at times, dates and places to be established by the binding interest arbitrator in accordance with rules promulgated by the Board. The binding interest arbitrator shall be empowered to administer oaths and issue subpoenas on behalf of the parties to the dispute or on the binding interest arbitrators’ own behalf.
(d) The binding interest arbitrator shall make written findings of facts a decision for the resolution of the dispute; provided however, that the decision shall be limited to a determination of which of the parties’ last, best, final offers shall be accepted in its entirety. In arriving at a determination, the binding interest arbitrator shall specify the basis for the binding interest arbitrator’s findings, taking into consideration, in addition to any other relevant factors, the following:
(1) The interests and welfare of the public.
(2) Comparison of the wages, salaries, benefits, hours and conditions of employment of the employees involved in the binding interest arbitration proceedings with the wages, salaries, benefits, hours and conditions of employment of other employees performing the same or similar services or requiring similar skills under similar working conditions in the same community and in comparable communities and with other employees generally in the same community and in comparable communities.
(3) The overall compensation presently received by the employees inclusive of direct wages, salary, vacations, holidays, excused leaves, insurance and pensions, medical and hospitalization benefits, the continuity and stability of employment and all other benefits received.
(4) Stipulations of the parties.
(5) The lawful authority of the public school employer.
(6) The financial ability of the public school employer based on existing revenues, to meet the costs of any proposed settlements; provided that, any enhancement to such financial ability derived from savings experienced by such public school employer as a result of a strike shall not be considered by the binding interest arbitrator.
(7) Such other factors not confined to the foregoing which are normally or traditionally taken into consideration in the determination of wages, hours and conditions of employment through voluntary collective bargaining, mediation, binding interest arbitration or otherwise between parties, in public service or in private employment. In making determinations, the binding interest arbitrator shall give due weight to each relevant factor. All of the above factors shall be presumed relevant. If any factor is found not to be relevant, the binding interest arbitrator shall detail in the binding interest arbitrator’s findings the specific reason why that factor is not judged relevant in arriving at the binding interest arbitrator’s determination. With the exception of paragraph (d)(6) of this section, no single factor in subsection, shall be dispositive.
(e) Within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearings but not later than 120 days from the day of appointment, the binding interest arbitrator shall serve the binding interest arbitrator’s written determination for resolution of the dispute on the public school employer, the certified exclusive representative and the Board. The decision of the binding interest arbitrator shall become an order of the Board within 5 business days after it has been served on the parties.
(f) The cost of binding interest arbitration shall be borne equally by the parties involved in the dispute.
(g) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit or otherwise impede a public school employer and certified exclusive representative from continuing to bargain in good faith over terms and conditions of employment or from using the services of a mediator at any time during the conduct of collective bargaining. If, at any point in the impasse proceedings invoked under this chapter, the parties are able to conclude their labor dispute with a voluntarily reached agreement, the Board shall be so notified, and all impasse resolution proceedings shall be forthwith terminated.
§ 4016 Strikes prohibited.
(a) No public school employee shall strike while in the performance of that public school employee’s official duties.
(b) No public school employee shall be entitled to any daily pay, wages, reimbursement of expenses, benefits or any consideration in lieu thereof, for the days on which the employee engaged in a strike.
(c) Where a public school employee has lost entitlement to any daily pay or other consideration pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, any agreement between such public school employee or employee organization bargaining on such employee’s behalf and a public school employer which provided for the direct or indirect restoration of such entitlement shall be void as against public policy.
§ 4017 Injunctions.
(a) Chancery Court is vested with the authority to hear and determine all actions alleging violation of § 4016 of this title. Suits to enjoin violations of § 4016 of this title will have priority over all matters on the Court’s docket except other emergency matters.
(b) Where it appears that any public school employee, group of employees, employee organizations or any officer or agent thereof, threaten or are about to do, or are doing, any act in violation of § 4016 of this title, the public school employer may forthwith apply to the Court of Chancery for an injunction against such violation.
(c) If an order of the Court enjoining or restraining a violation of § 4016 of this title does not receive immediate compliance, the public school employer shall apply to the Court for appropriate contempt sanctions against any party in violation of such order. Upon a proper showing that any person or organization has failed to comply with such an order, the Court shall, in addition to any other remedy it deems appropriate, fine such violating party an amount on a daily, weekly or monthly basis without limitation as determined by the Court.
(d) In determining an appropriate amount for fines imposed pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the Court shall consider and receive evidence of:
(1) The extent and value of services lost due to the violation of § 4016 of this title.
(2) Any unfair labor practices committed by either party during the collective bargaining process.
(3) The extent of the wilful defiance or resistance to the Court’s order.
(4) The impact of the strike on the health, safety and welfare of the public.
§ 4018 Status of existing exclusive representative.
An employee organization that has been certified as the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit deemed to be appropriate prior to the effective date of this chapter shall so continue without the requirement of an election and certification until such time as a question concerning representation is appropriately raised under this chapter in accordance with § 4011(b) of this title, or until the Board would find the unit not to be appropriate in accordance with § 4010(f) of this title.
§ 4019 Fair share fees.
(a) If the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement so provide, each nonmember of a bargaining unit shall be required to pay the exclusive representative a fair share fee.
(b) To implement fair share fee agreements in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, the exclusive representative shall provide the public school employer with the name of each nonmember who is obligated to pay a fair share fee, the amount of the fee that the nonmember is obligated to pay and a reasonable and lawful schedule for deducting said amount from the salary or wages of such nonmember. The public school employer shall deduct the fee in accordance with said schedule and promptly transmit the amount deducted to the exclusive representative.
(c) As a precondition to the collection of fair share fees, the exclusive representative shall establish and maintain a procedure that:
(1) Provides nonmembers with an adequate explanation of the basis for the fee;
(2) Provides nonmembers with a reasonably prompt opportunity to challenge the amount of the fee before an impartial decision maker; and
(3) Provides an escrow for the amounts reasonably in dispute while such challenges are pending.
A public school employer shall not refuse to carry out its obligations under subsection (b) of this section on the grounds that the exclusive representative has not satisfied its responsibilities under this subsection.
(d) Since fair share fees are collected each school year, in order to avoid undue delays in the receipt of, and determination of the validity of, fair share fees, any suit challenging a fair share fee must be filed within 6 months after receipt of the notice described in subsection (c) of this section, or within 6 months after the nonmember exhausts the procedure described in subsection (c) of this section, whichever is later.