Henry Saad: “If you feel it’s overwhelmingly complicated, you are not alone, because it is overwhelmingly complicated.”

James Gillette: “Most absolutely, [school boards] do not understand [the distinctions between mandatory, prohibited and permissive subjects]. That is why it is important to have a skilled and trained negotiator represent the board, especially if contentious negotiations are expected.”

As stated earlier, not all subjects which pertain to the operation of a school must be bargained with the certified unions. Under Michigan law, as well as historical labor-law treatment, the subjects of collective bargaining are generally one of three types: (1) items for which the law requires bargaining, or so-called “mandatory subjects”; (2) items for which bargaining may take place but is not required, known as “permissive subjects”; and (3) subjects which may not become the subject of collective bargaining, or “prohibited subjects.”