IRC PROCEDURES AND POLICIES
The IRC will continue collective bargaining negotiations when local parties have been unable to reach agreement and will also consider disputes/grievances, other than jurisdictional disputes arising under existing local collective bargaining agreements, if they have been processed through the machinery provided by the local agreement and have failed of settlement.
The IRC requires the parties to sign a “Statement” at the beginning of the actual hearing of the Submission. It summarizes the conditions under which the IRC will proceed to hear the matter, and appoints IRC Directors to the Negotiation Board, or Arbitration Panel, as appropriate. Samples of the Statement are in the Appendix.
The IRC shall determine its own rules and procedures regarding its continuation of collective bargaining negotiations.
Recourse to the IRC shall be on a voluntary consent basis signified in an appropriate pre-existing contractual provision, or in a current agreed joint submission or separate Submissions from each party.
Collective bargaining matters negotiated by the IRC, and the decisions in arbitration/grievance disputes submitted to the Council, shall be final and binding upon the local parties, who shall immediately put into effect the IRC’s negotiated collective bargaining agreement, or dispute decision, as appropriate. Enforcement of the Decision shall be the responsibility of the Submitting parties.
Collective Bargaining: The IRC may deal with all items in the collective bargaining agreement to the same extent that the parties could in their bargaining. The IRC does not normally do this, but it may do so in special cases where necessary to accomplish an appropriate resolution of the issues. The IRC shall not undertake continuation of collective bargaining negotiations or consider a dispute under an existing collective bargaining agreement, 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 IRC. The IRC will not proceed with a Hearing while NLRB or any other legal action is ongoing.
After all written and oral presentation in a collective bargaining matter has been made, negotiations shall be continued by the IRC sitting in executive session, with Employer and Employee IRC Directors acting, respectively, as the representative of and on behalf of the local employer(s) and the local union. The IRC may deal with all items in the collective bargaining agreement to the same extent that the parties could in their bargaining. The IRC does not normally do this, but it may do so in special cases where necessary to accomplish an appropriate resolution of the issues. All negotiation determinations of the IRC shall be by unanimous agreement of the IRC Directors engaged in the negotiations and arrived at by secret ballot.
Negotiation results shall be rendered within forty-eight (48) consecutive hours after the presentation has been declared closed. The negotiation results shall be rendered by the IRC in writing and signed by the IRC Directors engaged in the negotiation and shall be released only by their authorization.
Disputes/Grievances: After all written and oral presentation in a dispute/grievance under an existing collective bargaining agreement has been made, consideration shall be given, and a decision reached, by the IRC sitting in executive session. All dispute/grievance decisions of the IRC shall be by simple majority vote of the IRC Members hearing the dispute and arrived at by secret ballot. Dispute/grievance decisions shall be rendered within forty-eight (48) consecutive hours after the presentation has been declared closed.
The dispute/grievance decision shall be rendered by the IRC in writing and signed by the IRC Members hearing the dispute and shall be released only by their authorization.
The IRC, realizing that it has been established “to promote, improve and maintain sound, peaceful industrial relations between employers and employees,” proceeds on the basis of continuing collective bargaining negotiations, and settling disputes/grievances under existing collective bargaining agreements, justly.
The IRC has adopted the following as a statement of policies for the guidance of the IRC and the parties
when the IRC continues bargaining negotiations or acts on disputes/grievances under existing collective
- The public interest as well as the welfare and prosperity of the employer and employee, require adjustment of industrial relations by peaceful methods. The IRC is endeavoring to eliminate strikes, lockouts, and other work stoppages which always prove costly and detrimental, not only to employers, but also to the journeymen of the United Association as well.
- Industrial enterprise as a source of livelihood for both employer and employee should be so conducted that consideration is given to the interests of all persons dependent upon it.
- Regularity and continuity of employment should be sought to the fullest extent possible and should constitute a responsibility resting alike upon employers, wage earners, and the public.
- Whenever agreements are made with respect to industrial relations they should be faithfully observed.
- Efficient production in conjunction with adequate wages is essential to successful industry. Restriction of output is harmful to the interest of the wage earners, employers and the public and should not be permitted. Industry efficiency and initiative whenever found, should be encouraged and adequately rewarded, while indolence and indifference should be condemned.
- Wages should be adjusted with due regard to the rights of every person to an opportunity to earn a living and accumulate a competence; to reasonable hours or work and working conditions; to a decent home, and the enjoyment of proper social conditions, in order to improve the general standard of citizenship.
- The IRC views with disfavor sudden changes in wages and other contract provisions. The IRC encourages submission of unresolved collective bargaining issues to the IRC prior to expiration of the contract. The IRC may, however, render decisions making sudden changes or retroactive changes, or both, if in particular cases the facts appear to warrant such action.
- The IRC may deal with all items in the collective bargaining agreement to the same extent that the parties could in their bargaining. The IRC does not normally do this, but it may do so in special cases where necessary to accomplish an appropriate resolution of the issues.
- Industrial harmony and prosperity will be effectually promoted by local representation of the parties in interest. Existing local forms of representation should be utilized insofar as they may be found to have merit and are adaptable to the matter under consideration. Recourse to the IRC is a further means of promoting industrial harmony and prosperity when local
representation has failed to resolve the matter.
- Local collective bargaining committees are urged, in the interest of promoting sound, peaceful relations, to include a provision in their local agreements that all collective bargaining matters which cannot be solved by negotiation at the local level, be submitted to the IRC for further negotiation and determination. There is nothing compulsory about using the IRC procedure, but its use is unanimously endorsed by the United Association, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and the Union Affiliated Contractors of the National Association of Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors.
Following is a sample provision of the type the IRC recommends for collective bargaining matters:
“If local facilities to resolve one or more items in contract negotiations over wages, hours or working conditions have failed of settlement, both parties agree to submit the unresolved issues to the Industrial Relations Council for the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (“IRC”) for further negotiation as their representatives, and further agree that all terms and conditions of this agreement shall continue in full force and effect, pending final decision by the IRC.”
- Collective bargaining agreements normally provide a procedure for settling disputes, grievances, and interpretations under the agreement. This usually provides for several steps between the parties and a final step of binding arbitration. Local collective bargaining committees are urged, in the interest of promoting sound, peaceful industrial relations, to include in their local agreement procedure for settling disputes, grievances and interpretation questions under the agreement, a provision for submission to the IRC for the final arbitration step. There is nothing compulsory about the IRC procedure, but its use is unanimously endorsed by the United Association, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and the Union Affiliated Contractors of the National Association of Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors.
Following is a sample arbitration/grievance provision of the type the IRC recommends:
“IRC Provision” for Arbitration/Grievance Disputes Under Existing Collective Bargaining
Section 1. All disputes and grievances concerning compliance with, or interpretation of, this Agreement shall be settled as provided in this Article .
Section 2. Step One. The dispute or grievance shall be set forth in writing and presented to the other party within 3 days after it arises. Representatives of the Union and the Employer shall promptly meet and attempt to reach a settlement.
Section 3. Step Two. If settlement is not reached under Step One within 5 days after the dispute or grievance is first presented in writing, it shall be referred to a Joint Grievance Committee consisting of three representatives of the Union and three representatives of the (Association) (Employer). The Committee shall promptly meet and attempt to reach a settlement.
Section 4. Any time limits provided for in the grievance and arbitration procedure set forth in this Article may be waived or extended by mutual agreement between the Union and the Association/Employer.
Section 5. Step Three. If settlement is not reached under Step Two within 5 days after the dispute or grievance is referred to it, it shall be submitted to the Industrial Relations Council of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (“IRC”) for settlement under its procedures. The decision of the IRC shall be final and binding upon all parties and shall be put into effect by the parties immediately.
It is recognized that existing local procedures may vary from the recommended Step One and Step Two and such existing local procedures may be substituted. However, it is urged that the provisions of the above Section 1, defining the scope of the dispute and grievance procedure, and the above Section 5, providing for submission to the IRC for final and binding arbitration, be adopted.