Labor Relations Commission Finds that a Captain Should Be Included in a Superior Officers’ Bargaining Unit
On August 7, 2013 the Department of Labor Relations (DLR) issued a decision finding that the Captain in the Hudson Police Department ought to be included in a new bargaining unit of superior officers recently organized by Mass COP.
Up until December 2012, the sergeants, lieutenants and the captain in Hudson were not organized as a union. Mass COP gathered authorization cards and filed a petition for a Written Majority Authorization at the DLR. Mass COP’s petition included all sergeants, lieutenants and the captain. The petition was approved by the DLR on December 10, 2012. The Town challenged the inclusion of the captain in the bargaining unit. Accordingly, the issue went to hearing before the DLR Board Chair Marjone F. Wittner, Esq.
The Town claimed that the captain was a “managerial” employee who was excluded from bargaining under G.L.c. 150E. In order to establish that the captain is managerial, the Town had to demonstrate that he (1) participated in a substantial degree in formulating policy; or (2) assists in a substantial degree in collective bargaining on behalf of the Town; or (3) has substantial responsibility in the administration of the collective bargaining agreement. The Town failed to establish any of the above elements.
Board Chair Wittner determined that the captain had no role in collective bargaining or in the grievance procedure. The lieutenants participate in the hiring process with the captain. According, there is no distinction between the captain and other members of the bargaining unit.
Wittner also held that the captain did not prepare or formulate policy. In fact, a lieutenant worked with the chief to formulate and update departmental rules and regulations.
Finally, Wittner determined that the captain did not have substantial responsibility in the administrative of the collective bargaining agreement. Since the captain did not meet any of the criteria to be considered a managerial employee, he was included in the unit of sergeants and lieutenants.