In re: Abington School Committee and Abington Teachers Assn.

The teachers’ union filed a charge that the school committee engaged in a prohibited practice by imposing a smoking ban without having bargained with the union to resolution or impasse.  The commission ruled that “the smoke-free policy at issue was a mandatory subject of bargaining and that the School Committee violated its duty to bargain with the Union by failing to give the Union notice and an opportunity to bargain over the July 1, 1991 decision to ban smoking at the Abington Public Schools.”  However, during the pendency of the case, the State Legislature passed a law requiring school districts to adopt policies to “prohibit the use of any tobacco products within the school buildings, the school facilities or on the school grounds or on school buses by any individual, including school personnel.”  Thus, the commission did not order the school committee to go back to the status quo ante, but rather “to cease and desist from refusing to bargain over all mandatory subjects of bargaining.”

Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission, No. MUP-8630 (1995).