(CN) – The city of Lakeland, Fla., should not have dismissed a union’s unfair labor practice charge, a Florida appeals court ruled.
Lakeland’s electrical workers joined the Utility Workers Union of America in 2007. They were then denied a wage increase in the fall, even though non-union workers got a raise at that time. Historically, city workers receive raises in the fall.
The union claimed that the city had unilaterally changed its practice and disrupted the status quo. Still, the Lakeland Public Employee Relations Commission dismissed the complaint.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal overruled the commission under the theory of the “status quo period” between bargaining agreements.
“The employer cannot unilaterally alter material terms in the expired contract pending negotiation of a new contract,” Judge LaRose wrote. “During this time, the terms of the first agreement govern the labor/management relationship.”
LaRose remanded the case to the commission for a status quo analysis.