Collective Bargaining Agreements
Of the 632 benefit-eligible Town of Weston municipal and school employees, 490 or 78% are unionized. In accordance with Chapter 150E of Massachusetts General Laws, the Town must bargain wages, benefits, and working conditions with each union.
The contract between the Town and the union is called the collective bargaining agreement (CBA.) Each union has its own CBA with the Town. The CBA cannot exceed a three year term, but can be for a lesser period of time. The process for negotiating successor agreements with the unions is called collective bargaining.
The School Committee bargains with school unions. The Town Manager bargains on behalf of the Select Board with municipal unions.
When bargaining with municipal unions, the Town Manager seeks guidance from the Select Board regarding the parameters for bargaining. The Town Manager leads the bargaining team, which includes the Assistant Town Manager/Human Resources Director, the Finance Director and the pertinent Department Manager. For example, the Police Chief is part of the team during negotiations with the police unions. The unions sit across the table during negotiations and discuss issues of concern to each side.
Once a tentative agreement is arrived at between the town bargaining team and the union team, the Town Manager presents the tentative agreement to the Select Board for approval prior to finalizing the agreement. If the Select Board approves the tentative agreement, then the union is advised, and they will often vote for ratification.
If the agreement is ratified and signed by the union, the Select Board executes the agreement by signing the successor CBA. Once fully executed, the terms of the agreement are put into place either prospectively or retroactively, depending upon timing. If the union does not vote to ratify the contract, various outcomes can occur; however, in the interim, the terms of an expired contract must be followed.
The CBA is in effect for one or more fiscal years (July 1 through June 30). When a CBA is due to expire, the union should approach the Town Manager expressing the desire to begin the collective bargaining process. However, the unions often will allow the contract to expire prior to initiating collective bargaining for a successor agreement. The Town cannot compel the unions to begin the collective bargaining process, and as mentioned above, must adhere to the current terms of the CBA. This process creates a challenge for the budgeting process.
There are collective bargaining agreements with 12 municipal and school employee unions. The following are current agreements with the municipal unions. School CBAs are located on the Weston Public Schools website. Non-union compensation plans are under a separate web page.