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Collective Bargaining For Counties

Concerning the expansion of county employees' rights to collective bargaining, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2022 Regular Session
Labor & Employment
Bill Summary

Beginning July 1, 2023, the act grants the public employees of a county with a population of 7,500 people or more (county employees) the right to:

  • Organize, form, join, or assist an employee organization or refrain from doing so;
  • Engage in collective bargaining;
  • Engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection;
  • Communicate with other county employees and with employee organization representatives and receive and distribute literature regarding employee organization issues; and
  • Have an exclusive representative at formal discussions concerning a grievance, a personnel policy or practice, or any other condition of employment.

The act clarifies that county employees may participate fully in the political process.

Additionally, the act:

  • Grants the exclusive representative of county employees the right to access county employees at work, through electronic communication, and through other means, including employee orientations;
  • Requires counties to honor county employee authorizations for payroll deductions for the exclusive representative;
  • Clarifies that specific rights of county employers are not impaired unless otherwise agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement;
  • Clarifies that nothing in a collective bargaining agreement restricts or usurps the existing authority granted to county commissioners;
  • Requires the director of the division of labor standards and statistics in the department of labor and employment (director) to enforce, interpret, apply, and administer the provisions of the act and, in doing so, to adopt rules, hold hearings, and impose administrative remedies;
  • Authorizes the director or any party of interest to request a district court to enforce orders made pursuant to the act;
  • Sets forth the process by which an employee organization is certified and decertified as the exclusive representative of county employees;
  • Sets forth the process by which an appropriate bargaining unit is determined; and
  • Requires the county and the exclusive representative to collectively bargain in good faith.

The act states that the collective bargaining agreement is an agreement negotiated between an exclusive representative and a county, with the approval of the board of county commissioners of the county, that must:

  • Be for a term of at least 12 months and not more than 60 months; and
  • Provide a grievance procedure that culminates in final and binding arbitration.

The act prohibits a collective bargaining agreement from:

  • Delaying the prompt interviewing of county employees under investigation;
  • Permitting a county employee to use paid time for a suspension from employment;
  • Permitting the expungement of disciplinary records under certain circumstances; and
  • Imposing limits on the period of time for which a county employee may be disciplined for incidents of violence.

The act describes the dispute resolution process that the exclusive representative and a county must follow if an impasse arises during the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement.

The act sets forth the actions taken during the collective bargaining process by a county or an exclusive representative that are unfair labor practices.

To implement the act, $326,092 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of labor and employment and from that appropriation, $59,142 is reappropriated to the department of law to provide legal services for the department of labor and employment.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details