The National Public Employer Labor Relations Association shall support or oppose federal and state legislative action, judicial decisions, and administrative agency policy in accordance with the following principles:
1. Deferral to Local Control.
(a) NPELRA supports action that promotes the principle of local control of wages, hours, working conditions, benefits, methods of work, and other terms and conditions of employment within each jurisdiction of government, whether the employer is a unit of federal state, or local government. Further, NPELRA advocates that, where a labor agreement or memorandum of understanding is in place, the agreement should govern all continuing terms and conditions of employment for its duration, free from outside interference. Upon the expiration of such agreements or understandings, the principle of local control should remain in force.
(b) NPELRA urges respect for the principles of federalism enshrined the United States Constitution, and for the sovereignty retained by state and local governments under this doctrine. NPELRA opposes federal action contrary to the constitutional principle of federalism.
(c) NPELRA recognizes that all Americans are imbued with fundamental civil rights, recognized in the Constitution and laws of the United States. The principles of local control and deferral to the collective bargaining process may be an inappropriate mechanism for determining the scope of those fundamental civil rights due every American. Legislative, administrative, or judicial action designed to secure or define these rights is of a different kind than efforts to mandate wage levels or certain fringe benefits long deemed a prerogative of the employer and the bargaining process. Accordingly, this policy shall not be construed to require NPELRA to oppose civil-rights legislation or regulatory action ont he basis that such legislation compromises “local control” or the collective bargaining process.. NPELRA shall work to ensure that any such action respects the need of all employers, public and private-sector, for clarity, reasonability, and workability in any civil-rights legislation or regulation governing employment. In approaching these important issues, NPELRA shall strive to be sensitive to the diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and life experiences among its member, and shall avoid taking positions on civil-rights issues in the absence of a reasonable consensus within the organizations.
2. Deferral to Voluntary Negotiations.
Dispute resolution mechanisms should encourage rather than discourage voluntary settlement of issues between labor and management. Automatic access to impasse resolution procedures, such as binding interest arbitration, should not replace voluntary collective bargaining as a means to resolve disputes over the terms of collective bargaining agreements. Voluntary agreements reached between the parties through the negotiating process are preferable to those imposed on public management, unions, employees, and the public by a third party.
3. Balance of Power Between Management and Labor.
Employee rights to representation and collective bargaining, where they exist, should be balanced against the rights of elected bodies and public management to ensure that the public interest is adequately preserved. Any legislation that speaks to employee rights to representation should also ensure that negotiated agreements do not unduly impair the rights and responsibilities of public managements.
4. Funding of Mandates.
When a legislative body mandates benefits or other actions that impose costs upon a governmental jurisdiction, outside the process of local control and voluntary collective bargaining, NPELRA shall advocate that the costs be funded by the legislative body imposing the mandate.
5. Tax Policy.
NPELRA supports legislation and regulations that produce favorable tax results for both employers and employees.
6. Organizational Advocacy.
NPELRA shall advocate on its own or in conjunction with other groups positions consistent with the principle of local control of the relationship between public employers and their employees. We believe that local control leads to the most efficient utilization of human resources. Peaceful and cooperative relationships between governments and their employees are best served by employment arrangements that occur at the lowest appropriate level of authority. Further, the lower levels of government are closer to the people and, thus, are more accountable to ensure a responsive, orderly, and efficient operation. In contrast, mandates from higher levels cannot be as responsive and do not carry the spirit of voluntary resolution of disputes.
Further, it is the policy of the NPELRA to work closely with other public and private interest groups when common interest and concern exist, to provide information, to develop strategies, and to engage in other concerted activities to carry out the goals of this policy and in response to legislative, administrative, or judicial action that affects public-sector labor-management relations.