The Oregon Appellate Court is set to hear oral arguments this Tuesday on a case brought by Freedom Foundation on behalf of State Representative Kimberly Wallan and her aide, Sarah Daley.
The suit is a challenge to the Employment Relations Board’s decision to certify IBEW as the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit consisting of Oregon legislative assistants.
The Foundation argues that allowing Oregon legislative assistants to unionize is a violation of the separation of powers, as it places the Employment Relations Board, an executive agency in authority, over essential functions of the Legislature.
“We have an executive agency, the Employment Relations Board, interfering in the business of the legislative branch of government by making itself the authority on the wages, hours and working conditions of legislative assistants,” said Freedom Foundation attorney Rebekah Schultheiss. “By placing all Legislative Assistants — regardless of political party — into the same bargaining unit, ERB has destroyed the essential trust between Legislators and their Assistants.”
Earlier on in the litigation, twenty-eight Oregon Lawmakers and staffers additionally filed an amicus brief supporting the Freedom Foundation’s efforts to get the Employment Relations Board ruling overturned, claiming that the certification of a political union as representative of legislative assistants “will have a paralyzing effect on Legislators.”