Wednesday, December 23, 2009

PERB Issues 2008-2009 Annual Report

PERB released its annual report for fiscal year 2008-2009 back in October. (The report is available here.) I’ve been remiss in reporting on it; but better late than never. Here are the highlights for 2008-2009:

Unfair Practice Charges

868 unfair practice charges (UPCs) were filed in fiscal year 2008-09. This represents a 6.3% increase from the 816 UPCs filed in 2007-08. Since PERB assumed jurisdiction over the MMBA in 2001, UPC filings have been averaging over 800 a year, roughly double the number before 2001.

The increase in UPCs for 2008-09 can be largely attributed to the Dills Act and MMBA. The Dills Act went from 137 UPCs in 2007-08 to 167 in 2008-09; a 22% increase. The MMBA went from 261 UPCs in 2007-08 to 310 in 2008-09; a 19% increase. All the other statutes only increased or decreased nominally.

The increase in UPCs for 2008-09 is consistent with what I predicted last year. For the coming year, I predict that UPC filings will rise again. However, I believe the big increase will come under EERA, and to a lesser extent, the MMBA. This is because the budget situation appears to be just as bad this coming year as last. And unlike last year, there will be no stimulus funds to save the day for schools and in all public jurisdictions the less-painful cuts have already been made. That combination is going to create a lot of tension between management and labor as both sides search for money to close the budget gap.

ALJ Proposed Decisions

In 2008-09, the ALJs at PERB issued 52 proposed decisions; taking an average of 94 days for each decision. This is an increase from the 44 decisions issued in 2007-08. However, the length of time it takes to issue a decision stayed the same. I expect these numbers to remain at these levels in 2008-09.

Year: # of Proposed Decisions (Average # of Days)
2008-09:  52 (94)
2007-08:  44 (94)
2006-07:  41 (85)
2005-06:  46 (100)
2004-05:  49 (63)
2003-04:  47 (53)
2002-03:  52 (53)

Board Decisions

For 2008-09, the Board itself issued 89 decisions. It also considered 19 injunctive relief (IR) requests. The 89 decisions issued represent a 37% increase from the 65 decisions issued in 2007-08.  For 2009-10, I don’t expect the number of Board decisions to increase much, if at all, since the 5-member Board already has one vacancy and could possibly see another in early 2010.

The chart below lists the number of decisions issued by the Board since 2001. In past years, the Board has sometimes included IR requests in its decision count. So to make things easier, I have listed the number of Board decisions, IR requests, and the total.

Year: # of Board Decisions/IR Requests/Combined Total
2008-09:  89/19/108
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

So as you can see, the number of decisions issued by the Board this past year is the highest it has been since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 years. As I mentioned above, I don’t expect the number of decisions to increase in 2009-10 because of the Board member vacancy.  So far this year (2009-10), the Board has issued 38 decisions and I expect a few more will come out before the end of the calendar year.  That’s right on track for approximately 80 decisions this coming year.