What exactly is the PELRB?

Editor’s note: As the PELRB prepares to handle the SEA’s unfair labor practice complaint over collective bargaining, we thought it would be helpful to explain exactly what the board does and where it came from.

For public employees, the PELRB — short for Public Employee Labor Relations Board — is one of the most essential governmental entities. The PELRB essentially facilitates the relationship in collective bargaining between public employees and public employers.  

The PELRB will hear and decide the current dispute between the SEA and the state over collective bargaining, but there’s a whole lot more the PELRB oversees as the neutral party. Here’s a quick overview.

The PELRB is defined in RSA 273-A, the same law that spells out most rules relating to public employees and organized labor. The SEA played a significant role in the development of that law in 1975, after years of agitating for collective bargaining rights. The law was, and is, a huge deal because it spelled out the right for public employees to organize and collectively bargain, and also required public employees and employers to bargain in good faith.

The board has five members and two alternates, with two representing management and two representing labor. All are appointed by the Governor and Council. Here are a few of the board’s key functions:

  • Bargaining unit certification, modification, and decertification petitions
  • Unfair labor practice complaints
  • Requests for appointment of mediators, fact-finders, and arbitrators
  • Collecting and maintaining collective bargaining agreements

The PELRB website is a massively helpful resource, which includes links to all decisions made by the board, collective bargaining agreements, and links to all relevant laws. If you’re at all interested in labor law or collective bargaining, it’s a site worth bookmarking and exploring. You can access the PELRB website here.

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