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General Laws

Section 1. The following words and phrases as used in this chapter shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly requires otherwise:—

“Board”, the board of conciliation and arbitration established under section seven of chapter twenty-three.

“Commission”, the labor relations commission established under section nine O of chapter twenty-three.

“Cost items”, the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement which require an appropriation by a legislative body.

“Employee” or “public employee”, any person in the executive or judicial branch of a government unit employed by a public employer except elected officials, appointed officials, members of any board or commission, representatives of any public employer, including the heads, directors and executive and administrative officers of departments and agencies of any public employer, and other managerial employees or confidential employees, and members of the militia or national guard and employees of the commission, and officers and employees within the departments of the state secretary, state treasurer, state auditor and attorney general. Employees shall be designated as managerial employees only if they (a) participate to a substantial degree in formulating or determining policy, or (b) assist to a substantial degree in the preparation for or the conduct of collective bargaining on behalf of a public employer, or (c) have a substantial responsibility involving the exercise of independent judgment of an appellate responsibility not initially in effect in the administration of a collective bargaining agreement or in personnel administration. Employees shall be designated as confidential employees only if they directly assist and act in a confidential capacity to a person or persons otherwise excluded from coverage under this chapter. In the case of employees of the alcoholic beverage control commission, “employer” shall mean the state treasurer or his designee.

“Employee organization”, any lawful association, organization, federation, council, or labor union, the membership of which includes public employees, and assists its members to improve their wages, hours, and conditions of employment.

“Employer” or “public employer”, the commonwealth acting through the commissioner of administration, or any county, city, town, district, or other political subdivision acting through its chief executive officer, and any individual who is designated to represent one of these employers and act in its interest in dealing with public employees, but excluding authorities created pursuant to chapter one hundred and sixty-one A and those authorities included under the provisions of chapter seven hundred and sixty of the acts of nineteen hundred and sixty-two. In the case of school employees, the municipal employer shall be represented by the school committee or its designated representative or representatives. For this purpose, the chief executive officer of a city or town or his designee shall participate and vote as a member of the city or town school committee; provided, however, that if there is no town manager or town administrator in a town, the chairman of the board of selectmen or his designee shall so participate and vote. In the case of a regional school district, said chief executive officers or chairmen of boards of selectmen, as the case may be, of the member cities and towns shall, in accordance with regulations to be promulgated by the board of education, elect one of their number to represent them pursuant to the requirements of this section. In the case of employees of the system of public institutions of higher education, the employer shall mean the board of higher education or any individual who is designated to represent it and act in its interest in dealing with employees, except that the employer of employees of the University of Massachusetts shall be the board of trustees of the university or any individual who is designated to represent it and act in its interest in dealing with employees. In the case of judicial employees, the employer shall be the court administrator of the trial court or any individual who is designated by him to represent him or act in his interest in dealing with judicial employees. In the case of employees of the state lottery commission, employer shall mean the state lottery commission or its designee. In the case of employees of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the employer shall mean the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. In the case of employees of the Suffolk county sheriff’s department, employer shall mean the sheriff of Suffolk county or any individual who is designated by him to represent him or act in his interest in dealing with such employees. In the case of personal care attendants as defined in section 70 of chapter 118E, the employer shall mean the PCA quality home care workforce council or its designee as defined in section 71 of chapter 118E. In the case of employees of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, “employer” shall mean the Massachusetts Department of Transportation or any individual designated by the board of that department to represent it or act in its interest in dealing with employees.

“Incremental cost items”, the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement that require, in respect of any fiscal year, an appropriation by a legislative body that is greater than the appropriation so required in the preceding fiscal year; provided, however, that in respect of the first fiscal year or portion thereof during which an agreement has effect, “incremental cost items” shall mean the provisions of a collective agreement that require an appropriation by a legislative body of monies that are newly required by the employer to discharge the obligations arising under the terms of such agreement.

“Legislative body”, the general court in the case of the commonwealth or a county, the city council or town meeting in the case of a city, town or district, or any body which has the power of appropriation with respect to an employer as defined in this chapter.

“Professional employee”, any employee engaged in work (i) predominantly intellectual and varied in character as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work, (ii) involving the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance, (iii) of such a character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time, and (iv) requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning or a hospital, as distinguished from a general academic education or from an apprenticeship or from training in the performance of routine mental, manual or physical processes. Professional employee shall include a detective, member of a detective bureau or police officer who is primarily engaged in investigative work in any city or town police department which employs more than four hundred people.

“Strike”, a public employee’s refusal, in concerted action with others, to report for duty, or his wilful absence from his position, or his stoppage of work, or his abstinence in whole or in part from the performance of the duties of employment as established by an existing collective bargaining agreement or in a collective bargaining agreement expiring immediately preceding the alleged strike, or in the absence of any such agreement, by written personnel policies in effect at least one year prior to the alleged strike; provided that nothing herein shall limit or impair the right of any public employee to express or communicate a complaint or opinion on any matter related to conditions of employment.

“Written majority authorization”, writings signed and dated by employees in the form of authorization cards, petitions, or such other written evidence that the commission finds suitable, in which a majority of employees in an appropriate bargaining unit designates an employee organization as its representative for the purpose of collective bargaining and certifies the designation to be its free act and deed and given without consideration. Employee signatures shall be dated within the 12 months preceding the date on which the writings are proffered to establish majority and exclusive representative status within the meaning of section 4.

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