The Connecticut Supreme Court, in Board of Education v. State Board of Labor Relations, (a decision that will be officially released next week), clarified when it is appropriate for education officials to deal directly with employees and when the union needs to be brought in. The court adopted federal NLRA principles in doing so.
The decision is a complicated one because it finds for the school board in part and for the union in another. In one part, the court upholds the school’s decision to assign work to other teachers following a resignation but says that the school should have brought the union in to discuss some changes at a later point in time.
For public employers in Connecticut, the case is worth a read in understanding how and when a union should be consulted with. In particular, the discussion of "direct dealing" lays out when schools can deal with employees directly on workplace issues.
Of course, for school boards dealing with difficult budgets, the decision could also be seen as courts adding just one more procedural roadblock to trying to deal with some these fiscal matters.