SB 1296 Signed by Governor

SB 1296 was signed by the Governor on 9/30/08. SB 1296 modifies the MMBA to provide that the superior courts, and not PERB, have exclusive jurisdiction over actions involving firefighter interest arbitration. [See my previous post on 8/28/08 for a discussion of the impact of SB 1296.]

Read More

“Anti-huddling” Policy Not Within Scope

Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles (2008) __ Cal.App.4th ___ (Court of Appeal Case No. B197611) (Issued 9/24/08)In 2006, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department revised its policy on deputy-involved shootings to prohibit officers involved in a shooting incident from talking with each other prior to being interviewed by the Department’s investigators. Officers still had the right to individually talk with an attorney or labor representative. The intent of the new policy was to ensure one officer’s recollection would not be influenced by another’s. The parties referred to this rule as an “anti-huddling” policy.One of…

Read More

Constitutionality of Binding Interest Arbitration

In 2000, Governor Davis signed SB 402 which created a mandatory system of binding interest arbitration for local police officers and firefighters. Not surprisingly, local governments considered SB 402 a direct attack on the “home rule” doctrine enshrined in the California constitution. Under the home rule doctrine, local governments have plenary authority to set the compensation of county employees. SB 402 altered this doctrine by vesting in a private arbitrator the authority to issue a binding decision setting employee compensation.SB 402 quickly found its way to the California Supreme Court. In County of Riverside v. Superior Court (2003) 30 Cal.4th…

Read More

Parties’ Mutual Mistake Does Not Reopen Bargaining

Berkeley Unified School District (PERB Dec. No. 1976-E) (Issued on 9/9/08)In 2005, the Berkeley Unified School District (District) and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (Federation) were engaged in contract negotiations. The Federation alleged that during bargaining the District asserted that it was legally prohibited from using parcel tax revenue to fund its mandatory reserve. This had the practical effect of reducing the amount of money available to fund employee wages and benefits.After negotiations concluded and a new contract was agreed to, the Federation discovered that the District could in fact legally use parcel tax revenue to fund its reserve. The…

Read More

SB 1296: Keeping PERB Out of It

Over the years, unions (and I guess to be fair, also public employers) have had a love-hate relationship with PERB depending largely on the perception of whether PERB is “friendly” or not to its interests. The same holds true of the NLRB, which is currently perceived to be anti-union; and thus private sector unions have become adept at “NLRB-avoidance” as they call it.This same dynamic can be seen in the current debate involving PERB’s jurisdiction over strikes that impact public health and safety. (See City of San Jose v. Operating Engineers Local No. 3 (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 951 (review granted);…

Read More