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American Federation of State v. Public Employment Relations Commission

Decided: May 4, 1971.

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1959, AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT,
v.
PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION, CITY OF JERSEY CITY, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, AND JERSEY CITY PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEES, INC., LOCAL 245, RESPONDENTS



Kilkenny, Halpern and Lane. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lane, J.A.D.

Lane

[114 NJSuper Page 464] American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1959 (Local 1959) appeals from a Supplemental Decision and Certification of Representative by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).

As a result of petitions filed for certification of representative of certain employees of the Department of Public Works of the City of Jersey City, an election was held May 15, 1969 at the direction of PERC. PERC set aside the election upon objections filed by Local 245. A rerun election was held December 4, 1969 as a result of which the majority of votes were cast for Local 245. This appeal is from the Supplemental Decision of PERC overruling Local 1959's objections to the rerun election.

The objections filed were:

(1) At the pre-election conference sponsored by the American Arbitration Association, the rules and procedures for conducting the election were worked out by mutual consent of all parties. One such item of agreement was that there would be no electioneering within 100 feet of the polling place. This rule was flagrantly and almost continuously violated by officers of Local 245 during the entire polling period. (between 7:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.).

(2) In the garage next to the voting room, and connected by an open doorway, officers of and others representing Local 245 freely and openly dispensed alcoholic beverages to eligible voters before and after entering the polling place, as an inducement for votes.

(3) The President of Local 245, Mr. Thomas DeCarlo was afforded special privileges by the employer in that he was permitted to park his personal automobile in the D.P.W. garage within 10 feet of the doorway to the polling area. From time to time he and others representing Local 245 got in and out of his car and during most of the remainder of voting hours they stood in groups between Mr. DeCarlo's car and the doorway to the voting room. By contrast, representatives of and supporters of Local 1959 were required by representatives of the employer to remove their cars which were parked outside at the curb across the street from the building where the voting was taking place.

By these and other acts representatives of Local 245 did engage in conduct which improperly affected the outcome of the above election. The Commission is therefore urged to set aside the above election and reschedule another, taking whatever steps as are appropriate in order to assure that the new election will be conclusive.

The Hearing Officer recommended that Objections 1 and 2 be sustained, Objection 3 be overruled and a third election be directed. The basis of his recommendation for sustaining Objection 1 was stated:

Though there is a temptation to say a plague upon both your houses or to say that conduct by one countervails the conduct of the other, I cannot make such a recommendation. The election process is too important a matter for compromise. There must be conduct that does not affect the results of the election. There must be stringent standards.

The basis of his recommendation for sustaining Objection 2 was his belief "that the highest of all standards should be promulgated and maintained. Again, the election process, the heart of Chapter 303 Laws of 1968, must be beyond compromise."

Local 245 filed objections to the hearing officer's report and recommendation. PERC overruled the hearing officer as to the objections that had been filed by Local 1959 to ...


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