EMPLOYER ADOPTION/ENFORCEMENT OF UNREASONABLE RULE – In General
Single Topic for Decision 2388Ma
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750.01000 – In General
Although interest arbitration is not within the scope of representation under MMBA section 3504, the adoption of rules and regulations concerning either interest arbitration or mediation or both, falls squarely within the public agency’s duty, established by MMBA section 3507, to consult in good faith. Section 3507 prescribes a different scope of consultation from that under section 3505, because in section 3507, the Legislature stated with particularity those subjects for consultation. Before adopting rules and regulations under MMBA section 3507, a public agency must: (1) provide reasonable written notice to each employee organization affected by the rule or regulation proposed for adoption or modification by the agency; and (2) afford each such organization a reasonable opportunity to meet and discuss the rule or regulation prior to the agency’s adoption. MMBA section 3507 imposes on a public agency and on recognized employee organizations, several mutual obligations in the conduct of consultation, which are to: (1) meet and confer regarding consultation subjects promptly upon the request by either party; (2) continue meeting and conferring for a reasonable period of time in order to exchange freely information, opinions and proposals; and (3) endeavor to reach an agreement. In its answer to a complaint alleging that the agency violated the MMBA by failing or refusing to consult in good faith, the agency may raise the affirmative defense that the charging party waived its consultation right under MMBA section 3507. An employer raising a waiver defense must establish that: (1) it provided the employee organization clear and unequivocal notice that it would act on a matter, and (2) the employee organization clearly, unmistakably and intentionally relinquished its right to meet and confer in good faith. A compelling operational necessity may justify an employer acting unilaterally before completing its obligation to consult in good faith before adopting rules and regulations under MMBA section 3507. The employer must demonstrate “an actual financial emergency which leaves no real alternative to the action taken and allows no time for meaningful negotiations before taking action. An employer may implement a change prior to completion of bargaining on the effects of a non-negotiable decision but only where: (1) the implementation date was not arbitrary, but based on an immutable externally-established deadline, or on an important managerial interest such that delay beyond the chosen date would undermine the employer’s right to make the decision at all; (2) the employer gave the union notice of the decision and implementation date sufficiently in advance of the implementation date to allow for meaningful meeting and conferring prior to the implementation; and (3) the employer met and negotiated in good faith on implementation and effects prior to the implementation, and thereafter as to those subjects not resolved by virtue of the implementation.