PERB: OPERATION, JURISDICTION, AUTHORITY; OPERATION OF EERA, DILLS (SEERA), HEERA – Purpose of the Act
Single Topic for Decision I057M
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100.03000 – Purpose of the Act
The MMBA’s stated purposes are to: (1) promote full communication between public employers and employees; and (2) improve personnel management and employer-employee relations. To accomplish these goals, the Legislature enacted a comprehensive statutory scheme that gives employees of local agencies the right to organize and be represented by employee organizations, and requires employers both to meet and confer in good faith with employee representatives on wages, hours and other working conditions, and to endeavor to reach binding agreements on such matters. The MMBA authorizes local agencies to adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the administration of employer-employee relations, including procedures for recognizing employee representatives as the exclusive bargaining agent for units of employees, as well as for decertifying an exclusive representative organization. That section specifically provides, however, that no public agency shall unreasonably withhold recognition of employee organizations. Moreover, it is an unlawful practice for a public agency to violate its own local rules, or to adopt and enforce local rules not in conformance with the provisions or purposes of the MMBA. The purposes of the MMBA are promoting full communication between public employers and employees and improving personnel management and employer-employee relations by recognizing the right of public employees to join organizations of their own choice and to be represented by these organizations in their employment relationship with public agencies. To achieve these purposes, in 1968 the Legislature established in the MMBA a system of collective bargaining and conferred on employees, employers and employee organizations particular rights and duties. Among those rights and duties are the right of employees to select their representative free of employer interference, and the right of the selected representative to engage the employer in collective negotiations over wages, hours and employment terms and conditions. PERB’s function under MMBA is to exercise its exclusive initial jurisdiction to interpret and administer the statute, including the determination of whether an unfair practice charge is justified and, if so, what remedies are most appropriate to effectuate the proposes of the MMBA. PERB determines in the first instance whether a party’s conduct constitutes a failure to bargain in good faith. PERB’s role as the expert agency charged with administering the MMBA is to initiate and conduct administrative proceedings to determine whether an unfair practice has occurred and what remedy, if any, is appropriate. In so doing, PERB must conduct hearings in order to develop a sufficient factual record to: (1) allow the Board to resolve in a final decision any dispute as to an alleged violation of the MMBA; and (2) allow for meaningful judicial review of a final Board decision.