The Status Quo Period: When a Contract Expires
When a labor agreement between the University of California and a union expires, some of the rules in expired contract continue in force and others lapse. The status quo requires the university to maintain the same wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment for represented bargaining unit employees that existed at the time the contract expired, until an agreement with the union is reached.
Many of these "status quo" conditions are reflected in the language of the expired labor agreements, but some status quo conditions are not. When a contract expires, the university cannot change anything related to wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment without giving notice to the union and negotiating the change. That includes things like: changes in hours, changes in sick leave procedures, changes in performance evaluation procedures, changes in work schedules, such as shift changes, start and stop time changes, lunch period changes, and employee requests for flexible hours, etc. So the general rule is that the current terms and conditions for employees in the bargaining units will continue. However, we set out below the application of status quo principles to areas of special concern:
Access -- The university will continue to offer use of e-mail for grievances, to allow the use of meeting rooms according to local access rules, union access to new employee orientation as currently provided at each location, and the use of the telephones according to the expired contracts.
Arbitration -- There will be no employee or union access to the arbitration process for those grievances which arise after the expiration of the contract. However, individual employees who are subject to certain corrective actions after the expiration of the contract have the right to the “post-deprivation” procedures in lieu of arbitration.
University Benefits -- The university will continue to treat bargaining unit employees as eligible for benefits subject to any changes to benefits that are consistent with the dynamic status quo. Paid release time will continue for representatives to attend the benefits meeting held on a systemwide basis.
Corrective Action, Discipline and Dismissal -- Notice to the unions, where required by an expired contract, is discontinued.
Grievance Procedure -- The grievance procedure will continue as the terms and conditions of employment for employees; however, the unions cannot file a union grievance alleging violations of the contract that occur after the contract expires. The university will provide paid leave for grievance representatives as described in the expired contracts.
Hours of Work – The university’s ability to offer compensatory time-off for overtime payment (CTO) ceases with the expiration of the contract. Without an express agreement by the union on behalf of all the eligible employees, overtime and premium overtime for must be paid in cash. Of course, employees may still use banked CTO according to current terms and conditions of employment as described in the contract.
Layoff and Reduction in Time -- The notice obligations to the unions as provided in this article continue. Also, if the contract provides severance benefits, they continue as part of the status quo.
Leaves of Absence for Union Business -- This article is a specific creature of the contract that will cease to exist as a right for the union after the contract expiration. Those employees already on leave will be allowed to continue under continuing terms and conditions of employment for employees, but no new leaves or extensions will be granted during the status quo period.
Medical Separation -- The notice obligations to the unions will cease.
Payroll Deduction -- The university will continue to collect agency fees and dues through payroll deductions.
Release Time for Bargaining -- These terms and conditions will continue for designated bargainers as a part of the status quo.
Work Rules –- Generally changes in work rules need to be bargained. If you are planning to change a work rule, please contact the Employee & Labor Relations at (916) 734-3362 before doing so.
This list makes up the main issues about terms and conditions that are affected by the contract expiration which has been conveyed to the affected unions.
The status quo period can be a difficult time for managers. Much of management’s discretion over various terms and conditions of employment, wages, and hours where no notice to the union was required will cease during the status quo period. Management may not unilaterally change hours, sick leave procedures, performance evaluation procedures, work schedules, such as shifts changes, start and stop times, lunch periods, and may not grant employee requests for flexible hours, etc.
However, not everything related to wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment is subject to bargaining. Some of these issues are beyond the scope of bargaining. They are and continue to remain within management's prerogative during the status quo period. The obvious include, but are not limited to: decisions about reorganizing services; decisions about the organization of activities or programs, hiring decisions, decisions that go to the mission of the University, etc. Please remember, while certain management decisions are beyond the scope of bargaining, the effects of those decisions may be bargainable.
If you have any questions about what you can and cannot do during the status quo period, please call your Employee & Labor Relations consultant.