Researching Issues under New York's Private Sector Law



Listed below are links to summaries of decisions, orders and certifications contained in Volumes 48, 49 and 50 issued by the State Labor Relations Board and its successor State Employment Relations Board. Click on a volume to view the summaries for the period in which you are interested. To return to this index page from any selected link, use the back button on your browser.

Effective July 22, 2010, PERB became responsible for administering the adjudicatory and conciliation provisions of the State Employment Relations Act (SERA), Labor Law §§700-718.

SERA is New York's private sector collective bargaining statute, which covers private sector employers and employees who are not subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) or the Railway Labor Act. PERB's new responsibilities under SERA include issuing final decisions and orders resolving unfair labor practice complaints and representation petitions. In 2010, New York's Labor Law was also amended to add a new Article 19-C codifying PERB's jurisdiction over representation issues concerning child care providers.

Most of SERA's provisions were originally enacted by the Legislature in 1937, and are the subject of an extensive body of administrative precedent by our predecessor agencies: the State Labor Relations Board (SLRB) and the State Employment Relations Board (SERB). The applicable regulations are set forth at 12 NYCRR §§250 et seq. SERA and the regulations are posted on PERB's web site.

It is important to underscore that applicable substantive and procedural rules under SERA are not necessarily consistent with analogous rules under the NLRA or the Taylor Law. For example, the statutory definition of an unfair labor practice under §704 of SERA, is distinct from the definitions of an unfair labor practice under §8 of the NLRA and an improper practice under §209-a of the Taylor Law. The applicable precedent concerning the processing of representation cases is also distinct from the case law and rules under the NLRA and the Taylor Law. For example, one-person bargaining units have been certified in New York's private sector since 1939, and a recognition bar is not cognizable under SERA precedent.

It is fair to state that researching applicable precedent on SERA issues is challenging. In 1964, however, Cornell University Professor Kurt L. Hanslowe published a treatise entitled Procedures and Policies of the New York State Labor Relations Board. Despite the book's age, it remains the best introduction to the subject, and a helpful place to commence researching a particular topic under SERA. Hanslowe's book is available at various law school and bar association libraries throughout New York.

After initially consulting Hanslowe's book, a researcher should proceed to the published administrative decisions by SLRB and SERB interpreting and applying New York's private sector collective laws and rules. From 1939 to 1974, SLRB published an annual green hardbound volume of its decisions and certifications. Each volume is numbered and has a table of published cases and a subject matter index. The volumes for this period are numbered 1-37. In addition, SLRB published an annual red hardbound Annual Analysis of Decisions for each volume of cases. These books of analysis provide the quickest means for locating applicable case law regarding multiple subjects. Each annual book contains an examination of administrative and judicial decisions from the preceding year. To assist researchers, each book is organized in a similar manner with clear headings and subheadings.

For the period 1975 through 1988, SLRB continued to publish its decisions and certifications but in green softbound volumes. The volumes for this period are numbered 38-47. Each softbound volume contains a table of cases and a subject matter index. During this period, however, SLRB discontinued its practice of publishing annual books of analysis of its cases.

From 1989 until 2010, SLRB and its successor agency, SERB, issued only slip decisions and certifications that were not published in book form with a table of cases and index. Since PERB accreted the responsibility to administer SERA, PERB staff has been working to reformat these slip decisions into accessible loose leaf binders. In addition, we have prepared a table of cases and summaries for the decisions and certifications from 1989 to 2010 that are included in Volumes 48 and 49 and 50.

Copies of Volumes 1-50 of SLRB and SERB decisions, along with the applicable annual books of analysis, are available at PERB's offices. In addition, bound volumes of SLRB decisions are available in some New York law libraries.

The new mission of administering private sector collective bargaining issues under SERA provides an exciting challenge to PERB and its staff. The agency will be approaching SERA adjudicatory and conciliation cases in the same professional manner that we have applied to public sector cases under the Taylor Law since 1967.

  

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last modified: 3/26/2012
URL: http://www.perb.ny.gov/privdecindex.asp