Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Furlough Fridays Return to PERB

I've been told that "Furlough Fridays" are returning to PERB. In July, PERB will be closed on July 10, 17, and 24. After that, PERB will be closed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Fridays of each month. If you have a filing due on a furlough Friday, refer to PERB reg. 32130. Note, PERB has not yet announced the Friday closures on its website. Until it does, I recommend confirming the closures with the Board agent or Appeal's office if you have something due just to be safe.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fiscal Year Ends; PERB's Numbers Are Up

[UPDATED (7/6/09): 2 more Ad decisions, 1 Recon, and 1 Bd Decision bring the total number to 89. Plus, someone pointed out that my historic numbers did not all always include IR requests, so I made that clear.]

The fiscal year has ended for PERB. PERB's annual report is not due until October, but I have some preliminary numbers based on my own record keeping.

For the 2008-09 fiscal year, my numbers show that PERB issued 89 decisions, not including any requests for injunctive relief. This includes: 80 Board decisions; 3 Reconsideration decisions; and 6 Administrative decisions. In terms of which acts the decisions came under, it breaks down as follows:

MMBA: 34 decisions
EERA: 34 decisions
Dills Act: 11 decisons
HEERA: 8 decisions
Trial Court: 1 decison
Court Interpreters: 1 decision

I estimate that PERB probably considered 12 injunctive relief requests, which would bring the total number of decisions to 101. Last year the Board issued 65 decisions along with 28 requests for injunctive relief, for a total of 93.

Year: Bd. Decisions/IRs/Total

2008-09: 89/12/101 (est.)
2007-08: 65 /28/93
2006-07: 87/16/103
2005-06: 80/23/103
2004-05: 142/14/156
2003-04: 128/13/141
2002-03: 73/14/87
2001-02: 44/23/67

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Union Must Submit to Binding Interest Arbitration

Stationary Engineers Local 39 (2009) PERB Decision No. 2041-M (Issued on 6/29/09)

In this case, PERB affirmed an ALJ’s proposed decision finding that the Stationary Engineers Local 39 (Local 39) violated the MMBA by refusing to participate in binding interest arbitration pursuant to San Francisco’s local rules. What is interesting in this case is the position advacned by Local 39. Local 39 argued that San Francisco’s binding interest arbitration provision conflicted with the MMBA. According to the decision:

“Local 39 contends that interest arbitration conflicts with the MMBA's ‘intent that
agreements be reached by bargaining, rather than being imposed by the unilateral declaration of one side of the bargaining process.’ Agreements should be the result of compromise and a "reasonable accommodation of the needs of both parties.”

In other words, Local 39 argued that San Francisco’s binding arbitration procedure was an unreasonable local rule under the MMBA because terms and conditions of employment are imposed upon the parties, rather than reached through negotiations. PERB easily rejected that argument. However, I think it’s safe to say that Local 39’s position on binding interest arbitration is unusual and certainly not shared with most (if not all) other unions. Indeed, the ALJ noted in the decision that, “it is commonly known that many unions believe interest arbitration to serve their interests.” That’s an understatement. The reality is that San Francisco is one of only two local agencies (the other being Vallejo) where binding interest arbitration is available to non-safety employees. I’m willing to bet that non-safety unions in other cities and counties would love to have what Local 39 has in San Francisco.

However, looking at Local 39’s history, I’m not surprised by its position in this case. Over the years I’ve (very grudgingly) developed a respect for Local 39. The engineers have a reputation for hard bargaining and a willingness to engage in job actions. They also (like SEIU) understand the critical need for organizing. That makes them a force to be reckoned with and explains why they have been very successful in many places. They obviously feel that with their success, they can gain more for their members through traditional bargaining rather than relying on binding interest arbitration. In some sense, Local 39’s desire to stick with traditional bargaining is refreshing.