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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Summer 2010


A new employment relations system for the Judicial Branch was recently created by the Delaware Supreme Court. The Court created the new system as the result of its decision in Superior Court v. State of Delaware Public Employment Relations Board, 988 A.2d 429 (Del. 2010), in which it found that the Delaware Public Employment Relations Board had violated the Delaware Constitution's doctrine of separation of powers by certifying a union for Superior Court employees. According to the Court's opinion, the violation occurred because the Board, as an agency of the Executive Branch of government, did not have authority over the Superior Court employees because they were a part of the Judicial Branch. In order to ensure that these Superior Court employees, as well as other Judicial Branch employees, are able to exercise their right to collective bargaining, the Supreme Court issued Administrative Directive 174 (revised) and amended the Judicial Branch Personnel Rules, which apply to Judicial Branch employees not under the Merit System, to set forth separate rules and procedures for Judicial Branch employment relations.Under the revised Personnel Rules, the state court administrator or his or her designee is designated as the "Administrator" of employment relations for the Judicial Branch and has the authority to undertake all responsibilities necessary to implement Judicial Branch employment relations pursuant to the procedures contained in the Rules. Should a hearing be required, the Administrator has the authority to appoint an attorney as hearing officer. Decisions of the hearing officer may be appealed to the Chief Justice or his or her designee. The Administrator is also authorized to petition the Court of Chancery for enforcement of any order issued in regard to unfair labor practices or binding interest arbitration.

Administrative Directive 174 (revised), including the new Employment Relations Rules and Procedures, can be found on the Delaware Supreme Court's web site.