by Dennis Thompson, Jr.
The Statesman Journal
A state labor relations board has ruled that 12 top attorneys with the Oregon Department of Justice are not managers and should be represented by a bargaining unit of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 75.
The Employment Relations Board ruled earlier this month that the state of Oregon cannot treat 12 Assistant Attorneys-in-Charge as full-fledged supervisors, since they don’t have the authority to make key managerial decisions.
“The record shows that the AAIC have no independent authority to hire, discharge, reward or discipline employees, or the authority to effectively recommend these actions,” the board wrote in its ruling. “AAICs either have no role in the hiring process, or participate only as members of a hiring panel or committee.”
The 12 positions will be folded into AFSCME Local 1085, which already represents about 220 attorneys in the Department of Justice, union spokesman Don Loving said.
The position of Assistant Attorney-in-Charge was created in 2002 under then-Attorney General Hardy Myers. The job was meant to help high-level attorneys better supervise rank-and-file lawyers in the Department of Justice, the ERB said in its ruling. AAICs report to the Attorneys-in-Charge that run each of the agency’s many sections.
AFSCME clashed with the state over these positions during contract talks in 2009, and in March 2010 filed a petition with the ERB asking that the positions be included in Local 2085.
Such disputes crop up from time to time, with the state and the unions tussling about whether a position is truly supervisory or not, Loving said.
dmthomps@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6719 or follow on Twitter @DMThompsonJR