March 11, 2021 Labor and Public Employees Cmte, SB 1000
Written Public Hearing Testimony of
Kurt Westby, Commissioner
Department of Labor
Labor and Public Employees Committee
March 11, 2021
Good Morning Senator Kushner, Representative Porter, Senator Sampson, Representative Arora and members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with testimony regarding Senate Bill No. 1000 - AN ACT CONCERNING TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANY DRIVERS. My name is Kurt Westby and I am the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor (CT DOL).
CT DOL has concerns with the proposed bill. Currently the State Board of Labor Relations (SBLR) administers the major portion of four collective bargaining statutes covering state and municipal employees, public school teachers and certain administrators, and some private sector employees. This bill amends that significantly by adding private sector union organizing, as well as collective bargaining agreement negotiations and administration for transportation and delivery network company workers to SBLR’s jurisdiction. Union organizing that involves private sector employers and employees falls primarily under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and these employees derive their collective bargaining rights from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). We do not know what the legal basis would be for giving the State the authority to carve out a group of private sector workers, eliminate their right to go the NLRB, and move their collective bargaining rights from the NLRB to the SBLR. If passed as written, the SBLR would require additional staff to handle the increased workload resulting in a significant fiscal impact.
In addition, any mediation and arbitration related to the negotiation of these collective bargaining agreements could fall under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration (SBMA), which serves public employees and employers for interest arbitration as enunciated in the Municipal Employees Relations Act (MERA). The proposed bill appears to conflate private and public sector issues. For instance, the factors an arbitrator should consider in interest arbitration as proposed in this bill are significantly different than the factors listed in the MERA, and the process for challenging an arbitrator’s award also differs from the MERA process. The bill also proposes to secure the names of qualified interest arbitrators by referring to the American Arbitration Association, which the SBMA does not do. The use of the American Arbitration Association is typical of private sector collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Accordingly, we believe that any mediation and arbitration concerning the collective bargaining agreements for transportation and delivery network company workers should be addressed purely as private sector issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony.
Connecticut Department of Labor • www.ct.gov/dol
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer