The Board consists of six part-time members. A panel of three Board members generally hears and decides each case which goes to a hearing. The Board has two employees - Executive Director and Clerk.
Unit Determinations and Representation Elections
Upon the filing of a petition for election of collective bargaining representative or a unit clarification petition, Board staff intervene actively with the parties to seek to resolve any unit determination issues in dispute. Unit disputes are informally resolved in many instances; if unit issues are not informally resolved, then a panel of three Board members will decide the matter after a hearing and filing of briefs. In cases where petitions for election or decertification of a collective bargaining representative are filed, once unit issues are resolved, Board staff conduct representation elections, usually at the involved workplace.
Unfair Labor Practices
Upon filing of unfair labor practice charges, the Board will seek an informal response from the employer or union against whom the charge was filed. Board staff then may meet with the parties to investigate the charge and explore the informal resolution of it. In some cases, the Board will not conduct an investigation beyond the pleadings, and will decide whether to issue a complaint based on the pleadings. If a complaint is issued, an evidentiary hearing governed by the Rules of Evidence is conducted by a three member panel of the Board. After providing the parties with an opportunity to file briefs, the Board issues a written decision.
Grievances under the State Employees Labor Relations Act comprise a substantial part of the caseload of the Board, approximately half of its cases. Once a grievance is filed and the employer has filed an answer to it, Board staff often meet with the parties in informal status conferences or pre-hearing conferences to explore informal settlement of the grievance, discuss discovery issues, clarify issues, and/or seek to narrow the issues. If a grievance is not informally resolved and is not otherwise dismissed pursuant to a motion, the grievance is heard by a three member panel of the Board. Grievance hearings are more informal than unfair labor practice hearings in that they are not governed by the Rules of Evidence. The parties are provided with an opportunity to file post-hearing briefs. The Board then deliberates, and issues a written decision.
Appeal and Enforcement of Board Decisions
Board decisions generally may be appealed directly to the Vermont Supreme Court on questions of law. The Board decides whether its decisions should be stayed pending appeal, and that stay decision also may be appealed to the Supreme Court. Board decisions are enforceable by a party or the Board in superior court.
Publications and Educational Services
The Board has Rules of Practice specific to each of the labor relations acts which it administers. The Board publishes volumes of decisions every one or two years, and now has published volumes covering the years 1977 through 2020. The Board also publishes a Guide to Vermont Labor Relations Statutes, the purpose of which is to keep practitioners before the Board fully aware of case law precedents. The Guide is updated annually, and contains: 1) copies of Vermont labor relations statutes, 2) a cumulative subject index of all Board decisions since 1977, 3) a cumulative alphabetical index of all Board decisions since 1977, 4) a cumulative subject index of Vermont Supreme Court public sector labor relations decisions, 5) a digest of all Vermont Supreme Court decisions on appeals of Board decisions and 6) the Board Rules of Practice. Further, the Board has issued the fifth edition of a book on Vermont labor relations law entitled The Evolving Vermont Labor Relations Law.
In addition to these publications, the Board conducts labor relations conferences and training sessions. The Board is an active member of the Association of Labor Relations Agencies and the New England Consortium of State Labor Relations Agencies.