The Industrial Relations Council

For the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry

Table of Contents

(Click on BLUE headings to jump to that section)

 

DIRECT COMMUNICATIONS TO:

Scott W. Strawbridge, Secretary

Industrial Relations Council

P.O. Box 159

Benicia, CA 94510

Telephone: 707.486.9625

Email: swstraw@aol.com

RULES & REGULATIONS

DIRECTIONS FOR SUBMITTING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING NEGOTIATIONS TO THE

COUNCIL

“NEGOTIATION MATTERS”

 

For the purpose of enabling employers and employees in the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry to submit continuation of collective bargaining Negotiations to the Council the following “Rules & Regulations” should be observed.

 

When the Council hears a “negotiation matter,” the Council acts as a continuing Negotiation Board on behalf of the parties, and Council members are not impartial, but represent the interests of their respective labor or employer parties. Under the Council’s “Charter,” negotiation determinations must be my unanimous agreement of the council members engaged in the negotiations.

 

1- Apply to the Secretary of the Council for Submission forms.

     a)  Read the submission forms carefully and note what is required by the Council.

     b) Fill out the forms in detail and completely

    c) Each party should sign the same Submission forms (a “Joint Submission.”) However, if the parties cannot agree upon the unresolved issues within ten (10) working days after the Secretary sends out the submission forms, the parties shall complete, sign and file separate submission forms with the Secretary. All unresolved issues must be presented to the Council. In case of non-agreement by the parties upon what are the unresolved issues, the Council will consider all issues raised in the local negotiations and set forth in the separate submissions and make findings of the facts to resolve the differences between the parties and establish a single consolidated list of issues, as part of its continuation of negotiations. If only one party files a submission form, the Council will not undertake continuation of negotiations unless a court, the National Labor Relations Board, or other competent authority, directs submission to the Council. The Council will not proceed with a Hearing while NLRB or any other legal action is ongoing.

    d) Mail or deliver the completed Submission forms to the Secretary of the Council as promptly as possible, per the instructions of the Secretary.

 

2- Written briefs of the parties must be filed with the Council after transmittal of the submission forms to the Secret

a) Each party should furnish the Council with 12 copies (8 ½ x 11) of a brief supporting its position with respect to the issues submitted. The Council shall also be furnished with twelve copies of the existing or last labor agreement, together with ten copies of drafts of proposed revisions to the agreement, and two copies of all matters agreed upon by the parties during local negotiations. When the Secretary has received briefs from each of the parties, he will send copies of the opposition brief to each party, or request the parties to exchange copies. The secretary may accept briefs electronically if appropriate and practical.

          b) The briefs should deal with the issues in the same order in  which they are listed on the submission forms.

          c) Each brief must contain all the facts tending to support the contention of the party presenting the brief.

          d) Briefs shall be complete. The Council usually does not accept additional paperwork at the Hearing.

 

3- In the event both parties to the dispute do not submit briefs within the time specified, the Council may proceed with the hearing and continued collective bargaining negotiations on the basis of the evidence submitted.

4- Upon Council’s receipt of the Submission forms (Joint or Separate,) the parties will then be notified of the date and place of the meeting of the Council at which the matter will be considered. Such meeting usually takes place within thirty (30) days of Council’s receipt of the Submission forms.

5- Each party shall have a member, officer or designated representative appear before the Council to support its brief orally and to provide the Council with such further information that it may require. The Council will not proceed with only unilateral representation, as this precludes the Council’s representatives of that party from the benefit of caucuses with them. If either party desires a pre-hearing conference with its Council representatives (that is, Union with Union Council Members and Employer with Employer Council Members,) the Secretary shall be notified in advance so that he can schedule such conference. Such conferences are routinely scheduled and are encouraged to assist the Council Members in better pursuing the interests of the parties they respectively represent. The Council wants to hear directly from the parties(Union and Employer). The use of Attorneys at the hearing is strongly discouraged.

6- The parties are urged to continue efforts to settle the issues locally between the date of submission and the negotiated agreement by the Council. A matter or any issue or issues thereof upon which local agreement has been reached may be withdrawn by mutual consent of the local parties at any time prior to agreement by the Council. Such withdrawals may be presented to the Council at the time of the hearing.

7- If there is no organized employer group that is a party to the submission, the individual names, addresses and signature of each employer party to the submission must be listed on the submission forms. Each employer joining in the submission who is not a member of an employer organization that is a party to the submission should also list its individual name, address, and officer signature on the submission form.

8- Organized employer and employee groups, parties to a submission, should attach to the submission form certified evidence of authority to submit the matter for further negotiation by the Council. A contract provision requiring submission, together with evidence of applicability, the Constitution or Bylaws of the submitting organization, or resolutions of the respective organization’s governing body or membership, or a direction of a court or the National Labor Relations Board, or other competent authority, may be such evidence.

9- The Council may deal with all items in the collective bargaining agreement to the same extent that the parties could in their bargaining. The Council does not normally do this, but it may do so in special cases where necessary to accomplish an appropriate resolution of the issues.

10- No collective bargaining negotiations will be continued by the Council while a strike, lockout or other work stoppage exists, unless a court or the National Labor Relations Board, or other competent authority, directs the parties to submit the matter to the Council. The Council will not proceed with a Hearing while NLRB or any other legal action is ongoing.

RULES & REGULATIONS

 

DIRECTIONS FOR SUBMITTING DISPUTES/GRIEVANCES UNDER AN EXISTING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT TO THE COUNCIL “ARBITRATION/GRIEVANCE DISPUTES”

For the purpose of enabling employers and employees in the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry to submit to the Council for settlement, arbitration/grievance disputes arising under an existing collective bargaining agreement with respect to interpretation, application or violations of said agreement, the preceding rules and regulations for “Negotiations” should be observed, with the following exceptions.

  1. When hearing an “arbitration/grievance” dispute, the Council acts as an impartial Arbitration Board to resolve the disputed matters presented to them. Under the rules of Arbitration, the Council may reach its conclusion by a simple majority vote.
  1. Further, to preserve the impartiality and fairness of the Industrial Relations Council members acting as an Arbitration Board, no communication, written or oral, and no caucuses or pre-hearing conference will be had between any party on the Arbitration Board that is not made fully known to all parties, and no meeting will held between any party and a member or members of the Arbitration Board without the presence of all parties at such a meeting.
  1. “Arbitration/grievance” disputes shall be submitted to the Council in accordance with the rules and regulations for “Negotiation Disputes,” with the foregoing two exceptions when applicable.

COUNCIL SECRETARY’S SUGGESTIONS FOR PARTIES

 

The following are not rules of procedure of the Council, but, rather, are explanations that are offered for the information and guidance of submitting parties.

 

 

REACHING THE DECISION TO SUBMIT YOUR MATTER

 

It would seem that it would be a simple matter to reach a mutual agreement to submit to the Council a continuation of collective bargaining negotiations, or a dispute under an existing collective bargaining agreement. However, the decision must be a mutual agreement, otherwise the Council cannot act. The mutual agreement may be found in an IRC provision previously negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement or in a joint voluntary submission. The Council has found that frequently the parties themselves delay the decision to submit for the purpose of returning to the bargaining table, or the dispute settlement procedure, issues that have already been agreed upon or conceded. Often the parties cannot agree upon or define their unresolved issues. In recognition of the fact that this has often delayed or prevented submission to the Council, the Council will accept, in lieu of a joint submission (wherein the parties jointly prepared and submitted the forms,) the submission of separate forms prepared by each of the parties if the definition of the issues cannot be agreed upon. In either case, it will be considered a joint submission. In the event of separate submissions, the Council, in the case of continuation of collective bargaining negotiations, will consider all issues raised in the local negotiations and resolve the differences between the parties’ submissions as a part of its continuation of negotiations. The Council may deal with all items in the collective bargaining agreement to the same extent that the parties could in their bargaining. The Council does not normally do this, but it may do so in special cases where necessary to accomplish an approximate resolution of the issues. In the case of a Dispute/Grievance under an existing collective bargaining agreement, the Council will consider only the issues submitted to it, and will resolve the definition of the issues at the time or oral presentations.

 

 

The simple solution for avoiding the difficulty of reaching a mutual agreement to submit to the Council, when local procedures have broken down, is to have provisions previously incorporated in the local collective bargaining agreement requiring submission to the Council in the event local procedures fail. Suggested forms of such provisions are given in the section on “Policies of the Council.” Insertion of these provisions should be seriously considered by all local bargaining committees when they are not under the pressures of bargaining major issues to determine wages and other working conditions.

 

 

Questions are frequently raised by potential submittors as to “perpetuity” of Council clauses and “retroactivity” of Council wage decisions. Each case is negotiated by the Council on the basis of the information and facts presented. However, submittors should know that the Council does not seek to perpetuate itself in local agreements, and has in fact, many times removed a Council clause or provided a “sunshine” clause to terminate it from the Agreement. With respect to retroactivity, the Council does not normally negotiate retroactive settlements, assuming that both parties have acted expeditiously. However, if the parties themselves, by prior agreement, have established a retroactive effective date, the Council will normally accept that date.

PREPARING THE SUBMISSION FORMS

 

Read the “Instructions to Submitting Parties” carefully. If the parties cannot agree upon and define the unresolved issues, the Council will accept separate submission forms from the employer and the union. Each party should define thereon what it believes to be the existing or remaining issues. However, there must be a mutual agreement to submit the negotiations or the dispute to the Council. Either the submission of jointly prepared and submitted forms or the submission of separate forms prepared by each of the parties will be considered by the Council.

 

For the guidance of submitting parties, sample submission forms are a part of this appendix. Too often in negotiation matters, parties merely list under “Statement of Issues” the titles of issues, such as “wages,” “overtime,” or “fringe benefits,” and the articles and sections of the agreement that pertain thereto. This is not a sufficient identification or definition of the issues. There should be a short statement of the nature of the issue and the position of the opposing parties. It is more important to the parties that they so define the issues to enable the Council to more efficiently negotiate the unresolved collective bargaining issues or to resolve the dispute/grievance under an existing collective bargaining agreement.

 

In collective bargaining negotiation matters, the schedule of wages, other benefits, etc. called for in the submission forms should be completed. This information is important to the members of the Council in evaluating local conditions. Parties may, if they desire, substitute printed local industry wage charts, but it should be verified that these contain all of the items of information requested in the submission forms.

PREPARING WRITTEN BRIEFS

 

Briefs should be just that. The Council does not act upon the basis of volume or sheer weight of the written brief. They should be submitted on letter size paper (8 ½ x 11) and need not be elaborately done. Whether or not legal counsel is used in the preparation of such briefs is at the option of the submitting party.

 

The briefs should be a digest of the issues. The issues should be treated in the order that they are listed in the submission forms, and should be identified by a number. As there is constant referral to the briefs, the pages should be numbered. This will also serve to indicate whether pages are missing from any copies of the briefs.

 

Parties should limit the statements of each issue to the principal facts that they believe support their contentions or position on that specific matter. The oral presentations present ample opportunity for expanding upon the statements contained in the brief.

 

If the brief contains maps, pamphlets, excerpts from books, etc., legible copies must be included in all 12 copies that are required to be furnished to the Council. If local geography is material, as for example where travel expense is involved, local maps covering the pertinent areas should be included.

 

 

ORAL PRESENTATIONS

Oral presentations before the Council do not require experience in public speaking or public debating. The Council procedures in this regard are not rigid and formal, but they are businesslike. The first decision to be made is which party shall proceed first. Often this is done by the toss of a coin. In the order decided, each party then proceeds to make his original

presentation. He may quickly summarize the written brief with additional information and facts to support the demands made or the positions taken with regard to each specific issue. It is important that this presentation be well prepared, orderly, and preferably treated in the order of the issues. At the completion of the original presentations, in the same order, each party will have an opportunity for rebuttal. At this time statements may be made or evidence presented to refute the arguments or brief of the opposing party. The Council wants to hear directly from the parties(Union and Employer). The use of Attorneys at the hearing is strongly discouraged.

Ample opportunity will be given for a complete presentation by both parties, but the Chairman will not permit continued repetition of what is basically the same information, or the introduction of irrelevant material. Council Members are free to ask questions of the parties at any point. However, this is usually not begun until completion of original presentations and rebuttals by both parties.

If you have any questions about Council procedures or requirements, contact the Council Secretary.

 

Industrial Relations Council

for the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry

Instructions to Submitting Parties

  1. One copy of the Submission, completely filled out and signed by all parties, is preferred by the Council for a joint submission. However, if the parties cannot agree upon the issues within ten (10) working days after the Secretary mails out Submission Forms the parties should file separate Submission Forms with the Secretary. If only one party files forms, the Council will consider the matter only if a court, the National Labor Relations Board, or other competent authority directs that the matter be submitted to the Council. It is suggested that the parties retain duplicate copies for their files. The Council will not proceed with a Hearing while NLRB or any other legal action is ongoing.
  2. The completed submission form should be mailed or delivered to the Secretary of the Council. The Secretary will advise the applicants of the date and location of the Council meeting at which the dispute will be considered.
  1. Each party to this submission should furnish the Council with twelve (12) copies (8½ x 11) of a brief supporting their contention with respect to the issues submitted. The Council shall also be furnished with twelve (12) copies of the existing or most recent collective bargaining agreement. In negotiation submissions, twelve (12) copies of drafts of proposed revisions to the agreement should also be submitted. The briefs and copies of agreements must be filed with the Secretary of the Council. When the Secretary has received briefs from each of the parties, he will mail copies of the opposition brief to each party, unless the parties have previously exchanged briefs; such exchange is encouraged. The secretary may accept submissions and briefs electronically if appropriate and practical.
  1. The brief should deal with the issues in the same order in which they are listed on Page S-2 of these forms.
  1. Each party shall have a representative appear at the Council hearing to present oral testimony in support of their brief and to provide such further information as the Council should require. The Council will not proceed to hear a negotiation matter or arbitration/grievance dispute with only unilateral representation.
  1. In the event one or both parties do not submit briefs within the time specified the Council may proceed with the matter on the basis of the evidence submitted.
  1. The parties are urged to continue efforts to settle the issues locally between the date a matter is submitted and the date it is resolved by the Council. Any matter or issue that is agreed upon by the parties may be withdrawn by mutual consent of the parties at any time prior to agreement or decision by the Council in the matter.
  1. If there is no organized employer group that is a party to the submission, the individual names, addresses and signatures of each employer party to the submission must be listed in the space provided on Page S-5. Employers joining in this submission who are not members of an employer organization that is a party to the submission also sign in the spaces provided on Page S-5.
  1. Parties should attach to the submission forms certified evidence of authority to submit the dispute for negotiation/arbitration by the Council. This may be a collective bargaining agreement provision requiring submission, resolution of the organization’s governing body or membership, or direction by a court or the National Labor Relations Board, or other competent authority.
  1. No dispute will be considered by the Council while a strike, lockout or other work stoppage exists, unless a court or the National Labor Relations Board, or other competent authority, directs the parties to submit the matter to the Council.The Council will not proceed with a Hearing while NLRB or any other legal action is ongoing.
  1. Submission of the forms in a continuation of collective bargaining negotiation matter constitutes appointment of the individual Union and Employer designated Council Members, from time to time, as the collective bargaining representatives for such continuation, respectively, of the Union and of the Employer Group(s) and Employers. In an arbitration/grievance matter, submission constitutes their appointment to the arbitration panel for hearing the dispute.
  1. Carefully study the “Charter” and “Rules and Regulations” of the IRC to be sure that all IRC policies are understood and that all IRC rules and regulations are followed. The contents of these summary instructions are more fully discussed therein.

See Sample Examples Below:

SUBMITTORS CHECK LIST

 

The following check list is provided to assist the parties in fulfilling the administrative requirements of placing a matter before the

 

DATE                                                  ACTION

 

1) __________       Submission Forms requested from IRC Secretary.

2) __________       Completed Submission Forms sent to IRC Secretary, jointly or separately.

□ Twelve (12) copies of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

□ Twelve (12) copies of drafts of proposed revisions to the Labor Agreement (Negotiation submissions only.)

3) __________       Attach to the Submission Forms certified evidence of authority to submit the dispute to the Council. This may cite specific authority such as an IRC clause in the local agreement, the Constitution or By-Laws of the submitting organization, or resolutions of the respective organizations’ membership, or governing body, or a direction by a court of the National Labor Relations board, or by other competent authority. In grievance dispute matters, submit evidence of the prior steps taken in accordance with the contractual grievance procedure.

4) __________       Twelve (12) copies of briefs (8 ½ x 11) sent to IRC Secretary.

The Secretary notify you when the briefs are due at the Council office.

5) __________       Received copy of opposition brief from IRC Secretary or from other party.

6) __________       Filed with IRC Secretary a joint or separate statement either that no strike, lockout, or other work stoppage exists, or if it exists, that the submission has been directed by a court of the National Labor Relations Board, or other competent authority together with a copy of the direction.

7) __________       Informed IRC Secretary as to names and addresses of representatives who will appear before council for oral presentations.

8) __________       Received notification from IRC as to date, time and place of hearing.

Industrial Relations Council

The Industrial Relations Council was established in July 1950 under the sponsorship of the United Association, Heating, Piping and Air Condition Constructors National Association (MCAA) and National Association of Master Plumbers of the United States (Union Affiliated Contractors-PHCC.)

The Documents were amended in 1966, 1975 and again in 1998.

The Documents were clarified in 2010 and 2020 when the Documents were put on the Council website.

The Council would be remiss to not acknowledge the 50 year contribution made by Secretary Edward Teske of Chicago, Illinois.

In fact, these Documents were crafted by Mr. Teske and his dedication to the Council is so noted.