Oregon AFSCME Senior Legal
Counsel Jason Weyand has been appointed to the Employment Relations Board (ERB)
by Gov. John Kitzhaber. Weyand's appointment was confirmed by the Oregon Senate
on May 23, and becomes effective July 1.
The 36-year-old Weyand began
work with Council 75 in 2004. He worked in the union's Pendleton field office
until 2009, when his wife Simonne accepted a position with the Oregon Attorney
General's office, where she is a member of AFSCME Local 1085. Weyand has been
in the Salem office since that time.
Weyand will be one of three
ERB board members. In a nutshell, the ERB board enforces Oregon's Public
Employees Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA), the series of statutes that allows
public workers in the state to join and participate in unions.
"ERB rules on a variety of
cases impacting public and even some private sector employees," says Weyand.
"For example, cases alleging Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) by employers or
unions, appeals of some arbitration decisions, disputes about the appropriate
bargaining units for public employees and management discipline appeals.
"We are the decision-making
body of the agency."
Oregon law calls for the ERB
board to consist of one member with a background representing labor or
employees, one member with a background representing employers, and one
"neutral" or public member. Weyand will fill the labor role, but says those
designations don't predetermine the board's final decisions.
"Members are not advocates
for a particular viewpoint, but the diverse set of backgrounds is important to
maintain a fair and balanced board," said Weyand. "While that background is
going to factor into each member's viewpoint, we are nevertheless charged with
applying the law neutrally to each case, based on the facts of that individual
situation. We review prior ERB rulings for precedent, and ultimately, our
findings are reviewable by the Oregon Court of Appeals."
Weyand will need to recuse
himself from any AFSCME cases that he may have begun work on that end up in
front of ERB. But otherwise, he expects to hit the ground running on July 1.
"It's a great opportunity,
because ERB is too important not to have someone with a strong labor background
involved in deciding these cases," he said. "Frequently, employees' jobs or
livelihoods are on the line, and ERB needs to have someone with a good
understanding of organized labor helping to make those decisions. I see this as
an opportunity to work for the 'greater good,' so to speak."
Weyand emphasizes he's
leaving AFSCME with mixed emotions.
"I wouldn't want anyone to
think I am unhappy with my job at Council 75, because I'm not," he said. "I
enjoy advocating for our members. But this is an opportunity for public
service, and again, the chance to have an even bigger impact. So I'm looking
forward to the challenge, but I will miss Council 75, my staff colleagues and
Weyand's departure will
leave Jennifer Chapman as the union's senior on-staff attorney. Oregon AFSCME
Field Services Director Greg Schneider will begin the process of seeking a
successor for Weyand soon.