Clark County School Dist. v. Local Government Emp. Management Relations Bd., s. 7470 and 7597

Decision Date23 December 1974
Docket NumberNos. 7470 and 7597,s. 7470 and 7597
Citation530 P.2d 114,90 Nev. 442
Parties, 88 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2774, 76 Lab.Cas. P 53,551 CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Appellant, v. LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent. WASHOE COUNTY TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, Appellant, v. WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Respondent.
CourtNevada Supreme Court

Robert L. Petroni, Las Vegas, for Clark County School District.

I. R. Ashleman, II, Las Vegas, amicus curiae, for Clark County School District.

Hilbrecht, Jones & Schreck, Las Vegas, for Local Government Employee Management Relations Bd.

Paul H. Lamboley, Reno, Robert H. Chanin, National Ed. Association, of Washington, D.C., for Washoe County Teachers Association.

Woodburn, Wedge, Blakey, Folsom, Forman & Hug, and C. Robert Cox, Reno, for Washoe County School District.

ZENOFF, Justice:

CLARK COUNTY CASE:

In 1969 the Nevada Legislature enacted NRS 288.150 and in 1971 amended that act, the composite of which was designed to give bargaining rights to public employees. They do not, however, have the right to strike. NRS 288.230(2).

Within the mechanism of the act is provided a Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board (NRS 288.080(1)) to 'hear and determine any complaint arising out of the interpretation of, or performance under, the provisions of this chapter by any local government employer or employee organization . . .' NRS 288.110. The provisions of the statute pertinent to the issues of this appeal are:

'288.150 Negotiations by employer with recognized employee organization concerning wages, hours and conditions of employment; rights of employer without negotiation.

'1. It is the duty of every local government employer, except as limited in subsection 2, to negotiate in good faith through a representative or representatives of its own choosing concerning wages, hours, and conditions of employment with the recognized employee organization, if any, for each appropriate unit among its employees. If either party requests it, agreements so reached shall be reduced to writing. Where any officer of a local government employer, other than a member of the governing body, is elected by the people and directs the work of any local government employee, such officer is the proper person to negotiate, directly or through a representative or representatives of his own choosing, in the first instance concerning any employee whose work is directed by him, but may refer to the governing body or its chosen representative or representatives any matter beyond the scope of his authority.

'2. Each local government employer is entitled, without negotiation or reference to any agreement resulting from negotiation:

(a) To direct its employees;

(b) To hire, promote, classify, transfer, assign, retain, suspend, demote, discharge or take disciplinary action against any employee;

(c) To relieve any employee from duty because of lack of work or for any other legitimate reason;

(d) To maintain the efficiency of its governmental operations;

(e) To determine the methods, means and personnel by which its operations are to be conducted; and

(f) To take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out its responsibilities in situations of emergency.

'Any action taken under the provisions of this subsection shall not be construed as a failure to negotiate in good faith.'

In 1971 the Clark County School District refused to negotiate the question relating to daily classroom preparation time on the ground that under Section 2 of the statute those items were not subject to negotiation because they were policy matters and therefore exclusively within the purview of the school district. A hearing before the Employee-Management Relations Board (hereinafter referred to as EMRB) was held and witnesses testified to the nature, need and mechanics of classroom preparation and the value of classroom limitations after which the EMRB ruled that preparation time was a negotiable issue within NRS 288.150 because:

1. Preparation time affects a teacher's effectiveness and the achievement of the students.

2. Denial of preparation time extends a teacher's work day and affects wages as such time is uncompensated.

3. Preparation time is significantly related to wages, hours, and working conditions and is negotiable, even though said matters also relate to questions of management prerogative in terms of scheduling and administration.

On petition for review sought by the school district the district court upheld the EMRB. The school district appeals the ruling that preparation time is a negotiable subject. The appellate contentions concern the intent and meaning of this labor statute.

The appellant's interpretation of the act would render NRS 288.150 a nullity. The fact of the enactment of the legislation in itself evidences legislative intent that the statute serve a purpose and the stated purpose is to grant public employees a right that they did not have before which was to bargain collectively.

It is not conceivable that the legislature would give its extensive time and attention to study, draft, meet, hear, discuss and pass this important piece of legislation were it not to serve a useful purpose. For this court to hold that any item even though remotely relevant to management policy is beyond the pale of negotiation defeats the purpose of the legislation. Many matters involved in a teacher's work day bear somewhat on management policy and at the same time are inextricably linked to wages, hours and conditions of employment. What the legislature gave was not intended to immediately be taken away.

That teachers prepare themselves in order to transmit their fountain of knowledge to the students is a managerial policy. The employer 'directs' the teacher to comply with that policy. NRS 288.150(2)(a) is fulfilled. In doing so time spent in study preparing the lectures and documenting them are necessarily involved. This means wages, hours and conditions of employment are significantly enmeshed with the requirement to be prepared. The statutory power reserved in the employer to direct its employees as provided in Section 2(a) of the act is not thereby diluted because the employer retains the right to make certain that the teacher prepares adequately and competently, in short, the right to 'direct' the employee as required by NRS 288.150(2)(a).

A precise determination of the distinctions between Section 1 as subtracted by Section 2 cannot be divined. That is the function of the EMRB. Unless the board should act arbitrarily, unreasonably or capriciously beyond administrative boundaries the courts must give credence to the findings of the board. An agency charged with the duty of administering an act is impliedly clothed with power to construe it as a necessary precedent to administrative action. Oliver v. Spitz, 76 Nev. 5, 348 P.2d 158 (1960); Oklahoma Real Estate Commission v. National Business & Property Exchange,238 F.2d 606 (10th Cir. 1956); Utah Hotel Co. v. Industrial Commission,107 Utah 24, 151 P.2d 467 (1944). Indeed, NRS 288.110 charges the board with that responsibility and great deference should be given to the agency's interpretation when it is within the language of the statute. Oliver v. Spitz, supra, 76 Nev. at 10, 348 P.2d 158; Udall v. Tallman, 380 U.S. 1, at 16, 85 S.Ct. 792, 13 L.Ed.2d 616 (1965).

In this case the EMRB concluded that the applicable standard to reconcile Sections 1 and 2 is that the government employer be required to negotiate if a particular item is found to significantly relate to wages, hours and working conditions even though that item is also related to management prerogative. The standard and the findings thereon are reasonable. Since NRS 288.110 gives the board power to hear and determine any complaint arising out of the interpretation of the statute the board's conclusion was properly upheld by the trial court.

Affirmed.

WASHOE COUNTY CASE:

The present case was brought before the district court to review a decision of the Employee-Management Relations Board, the administrative agency with control over NRS 288.150 of the Nevada Local Government Employee-Management Relations Act. The EMRB, as the board is called, held that where an item significantly affects wages, hours or conditions of employment it is subject to mandatory negotiation notwithstanding the limitations of Section 2 of...

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