Take Advantage of the Opportunity to Provide PERB with Feedback Regarding AB 646
Signed by Governor Brown on October 9, 2011, AB 646 amends the collective bargaining process for local public agencies by requiring the parties to proceed to fact finding after mediation and before a local public agency may unilaterally implement its last, best, and final offer. Several commentators have pointed out ambiguities with respect to the scope and application of the fact finding process. On November 8, 2011, the California Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) held the first of two meetings to introduce drafts of proposed emergency regulations for implementing AB 646 and to seek feedback regarding issues that might require regulatory action by PERB in advance of January 1, 2012, when the legislation takes effect.
The meeting was attended by attorneys and employees representing both labor and management for public agencies throughout the state. Multiple issues were discussed during the meeting, including: (1) whether local public agencies are allowed to adopt reasonable local rules to tackle issues that were not addressed by the legislation; (2) whether peace officers and managers are covered by AB 646; (3) what process is going to be used by PERB for appointing fact finders; (4) whether mediation after impasse is now mandatory; (5) whether fact finding is required if the parties do not proceed to mediation; and (6) how long the fact finding process typically takes. While PERB representatives did not provide much feedback or insight regarding these issues and questions, they did introduce proposed emergency regulations that they hope to adopt before January 1 and invited general feedback regarding issues that might require regulatory action.
To view the current drafts of PERB’s proposed emergency regulations click here. PERB has asked that feedback be sent by email to Division Chief Les Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org) or General Counsel Suzanne Murphy (email@example.com) by no later than November 18, 2011. Mr. Chisholm indicated that all comments may be posted publicly on PERB’s website, so please keep that in mind if you decide to provide feedback. We would urge all public agency representatives to take advantage of this opportunity to provide feedback to PERB on this very important issue. To read a detailed explanation of AB 646 and some of the substantial ambiguities that exist within the legislation click here.