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Superior Court Ruling Limits Fact Finding Under MMBA to Disputes Arising After Contract Negotiations

   Published on:  19 Nov, 2013

Recently, a trial court ruled against the argument by the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”)* that fact finding under the MMBA, as set forth in AB 646, applies to effects/impact bargaining. In County of Riverside v. PERB (SEIU Local 721), the County argued that fact finding is limited to disputes arising from collective bargaining for a new or successor MOU, and therefore, fact finding does not apply to effects/impact bargaining regarding recent changes to background investigations. The trial court agreed, after determining the legislative intent of AB 646 indicates MMBA fact finding applies only to contract disputes. The ruling also included injunctive relief, requiring PERB to dismiss all fact-finding cases arising from disputes after negotiations of single meet and confer issues and restraining PERB from granting any such new fact finding request. This ruling cannot be cited as precedent, but PERB is likely to appeal and thereafter an appellate ruling may establish precedent. A ruling affirming the trial court’s decision would also overturn a prior ruling by PERB that meet and confer negotiations over effects/impact of layoffs were subject to fact finding.

*PERB does not have jurisdiction over peace officer or management units, but courts with jurisdiction over such units usually defer to PERB (although not in this instance).

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Stoughton at jennifer@majlabor.com.