(1)(a) Any employee organization which is designated or selected by a majority of public employees in an appropriate unit as their representative for purposes of collective bargaining shall request recognition by the public employer. The public employer shall, if satisfied as to the majority status of the employee organization and the appropriateness of the proposed unit, recognize the employee organization as the collective bargaining representative of employees in the designated unit. Upon recognition by a public employer, the employee organization shall immediately petition the commission for certification. The commission shall review only the appropriateness of the unit proposed by the employee organization. If the unit is appropriate according to the criteria used in this part, the commission shall immediately certify the employee organization as the exclusive representative of all employees in the unit. If the unit is inappropriate according to the criteria used in this part, the commission may dismiss the petition.
(b) Whenever a public employer recognizes an employee organization on the basis of majority status and on the basis of appropriateness in accordance with subparagraph (4)(f)5. of this section, the commission shall, in the absence of inclusion of a prohibited category of employees or violation of s. 447.501, certify the proposed unit. (2) If the public employer refuses to recognize the employee organization, the employee organization may file a petition with the commission for certification as the bargaining agent for a proposed bargaining unit. The petition shall be accompanied by dated statements signed by at least 30 percent of the employees in the proposed unit, indicating that such employees desire to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining by the petitioning employee organization. Once a petition for certification has been filed by an employee organization, any registered employee organization desiring placement on the ballot in any election to be conducted pursuant to this section may be permitted by the commission to intervene in the proceeding upon motion accompanied by dated statements signed by at least 10 percent of the employees in the proposed unit, indicating that such employees desire to be represented for the purposes of collective bargaining by the moving employee organization. The petitions and dated statements signed by the employees are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), except that any employee, employer, or employee organization having sufficient reason to believe any of the employee signatures were obtained by collusion, coercion, intimidation, or misrepresentation or are otherwise invalid shall be given a reasonable opportunity to verify and challenge the signatures appearing on the petition. (3)(a) The commission or one of its designated agents shall investigate the petition to determine its sufficiency; if it has reasonable cause to believe that the petition is sufficient, the commission shall provide for an appropriate hearing upon due notice. Such a hearing may be conducted by an agent of the commission. If the commission finds the petition to be insufficient, it may dismiss the petition. If the commission finds upon the record of the hearing that the petition is sufficient, it shall immediately:
1. Define the proposed bargaining unit and determine which public employees shall be qualified and entitled to vote at any election held by the commission.
2. Identify the public employer or employers for purposes of collective bargaining with the bargaining agent.
3. Order an election by secret ballot, the cost of said election and any required runoff election to be borne equally by the parties, except as the commission may provide by rule. The commission’s order assessing costs of an election may be enforced pursuant to the provisions of this part.
(b) When an employee organization is selected by a majority of the employees voting in an election, the commission shall certify the employee organization as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of all employees in the unit. Certification is effective upon the issuance of the final order by the commission or, if the final order is appealed, at the time the appeal is exhausted or any stay is vacated by the commission or the court.
(c) In any election in which none of the choices on the ballot receives the vote of a majority of the employees voting, a runoff election shall be held according to rules promulgated by the commission.
(d) No petition may be filed seeking an election in any proposed or existing appropriate bargaining unit to determine the exclusive bargaining agent within 12 months after the date of a commission order verifying a representation election or, if an employee organization prevails, within 12 months after the date of an effective certification covering any of the employees in the proposed or existing bargaining unit. Furthermore, if a valid collective bargaining agreement covering any of the employees in a proposed unit is in effect, a petition for certification may be filed with the commission only during the period extending from 150 days to 90 days immediately preceding the expiration date of that agreement, or at any time subsequent to its expiration date but prior to the effective date of any new agreement. The effective date of a collective bargaining agreement means the date of ratification by both parties, if the agreement becomes effective immediately or retroactively; or its actual effective date, if the agreement becomes effective after its ratification date.
(4) In defining a proposed bargaining unit, the commission shall take into consideration:
(a) The principles of efficient administration of government.
(b) The number of employee organizations with which the employer might have to negotiate.
(c) The compatibility of the unit with the joint responsibilities of the public employer and public employees to represent the public.
(d) The power of the officials of government at the level of the unit to agree, or make effective recommendations to another administrative authority or to a legislative body, with respect to matters of employment upon which the employee desires to negotiate.
(e) The organizational structure of the public employer.
(f) Community of interest among the employees to be included in the unit, considering:
1. The manner in which wages and other terms of employment are determined.
2. The method by which jobs and salary classifications are determined.
3. The interdependence of jobs and interchange of employees.
4. The desires of the employees.
5. The history of employee relations within the organization of the public employer concerning organization and negotiation and the interest of the employees and the employer in the continuation of a traditional, workable, and accepted negotiation relationship.
(g) The statutory authority of the public employer to administer a classification and pay plan.
(h) Such other factors and policies as the commission may deem appropriate.
However, no unit shall be established or approved for purposes of collective bargaining which includes both professional and nonprofessional employees unless a majority of each group votes for inclusion in such unit.