Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2677
By: Bailey
Urban Affairs


Firefighters and police officers of the City of Houston are currently
covered by meet and confer legislation, but there are no provisions
covering the employment matters of Houston's other municipal employees.
House Bill 2677 grants public employee associations of a municipality of
1.5 million or more the right to meet and confer with a public employer
over issues such as wages, hours, working conditions, and all other terms
and conditions of employment, and prohibits strikes and work stoppages by
employees who participate in these organizations. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 2677 amends the Local Government Code to provide for local
control over the employment matters of public employee associations in
municipalities of 1.5 million or more. The bill does not apply to
firefighters or police officers in municipalities that have adopted the
Fire and Police Employee Relations Act or the provisions for municipal
civil service.  

H.B. 2677 provides that a municipality may not be denied local control over
employment matters, including wages, salaries, rates of pay, hours of work,
affirmative action programs, other conditions of employment, or other
state-mandated personnel issues.  The bill authorizes a public employer to
enter into a mutual written agreement governing these issues with an
employee association that does not advocate the illegal right to strike by
municipal  employees.  The bill also authorizes a municipality to recognize
an employee association that does not advocate the illegal right to strike
by municipal employees as the negotiating agent for any municipal group
that requests representation.  The bill prohibits employees of a
municipality from engaging in strikes or organized work stoppages against
the state or a municipality of the state.  An employee who participates in
a strike forfeits all civil service rights, benefits, reemployment rights,
and any other rights or privileges an employee enjoys as a result of
employment or prior employment.  

H.B. 2677 authorizes a public employer to recognize an employee association
as the sole and exclusive negotiating agent for a bargaining unit,
regardless of whether the employer has recognized the association selected
by a petition.  A public employer may recognize an employee association
selected by a petition signed by a majority of the nonclassified employees
of the municipality, unless and until recognition of the association is
withdrawn by a majority of those employees.  The bill requires the question
of whether a recognized association represents a majority of covered
employees to be resolved by a fair election and sets forth provisions for
the election. 

H.B. 2677 requires all deliberations between an employee association and a
public employer to be open to the public and held in compliance with state
open meetings laws.  The bill specifies that a written agreement between a
public employer and a recognized association is enforceable and binding on
the public employer, the recognized association, and the employees covered
by the agreement if the governing body  of the municipality ratifies the
agreement by majority vote and the association ratifies the agreement by a
secret ballot election.  

A state district court of the judicial district in which the municipality
is located has full authority and jurisdiction to enforce any ratified
written agreement between a public employer and a recognized association.
An agreement made between a public employer and a recognized association
supersedes any previous statute concerning employment matters and preempts
all contrary local ordinances, executive orders, civil service provisions,
or rules adopted by a political subdivision. 


September 1, 2001.