Scope of Representation is Limited under the Trial Court Act

Fresno County Superior Court (PERB Dec. No. 1942C) (Issued on 01/31/08)

This is one of the first cases under the Trial Court Act to go before an administrative law judge and the Board. The issue was whether the Fresno Superior Court’s decision to require all court reporters to provide “realtime” court reporting services was within the “scope of representation.” Relying on the unique language of the TCA, the Board held that it was not.

The TCA, similar to all the other acts administered by PERB, provides that the “scope of representation shall include all matters relating to employment conditions and employer-employee relations, including, but not limited to, wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” (Gov. Code 716349(a).) However, the TCA goes further and provides that:

“In view of the unique and special responsibilities of the trial courts in the administration of justice, decisions regarding the following matters shall not be included within the scope of representation:
(1) The merits and administration of the trial court system.
(2) Coordination, consolidation, and merger of trial courts and
support staff.
(3) Automation, including, but not limited to, fax filing,
electronic recording, and implementation of information systems.
(4) Design, construction, and location of court facilities.
(5) Delivery of court services.
(6) Hours of operation of the trial courts and trial court system.”

PERB found that the provision of “realtime” reporting by court reporters constituted a “delivery of court services” under the TCA.

Although PERB held that the Court’s decision to require court reporters to provide “realtime” court reporting services was not negotiable, the impact of that decision was negotiable. However, relying on City of Richmond (2004) PERB Decision No. 1720-M (Richmond), the Board held that the union failed to adequately request to bargain over any impact, and thus, had waived their rights.

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