Decision 1340E – Ventura County Community College District
Decision Date: August 3, 1999
Decision Type: PERB Decision
Description: The Board found that the District violated the EERA when it failed to provide necessary and relevant Information related to an investigation of the men’s basketball program. The Federation was not entitled to receive the list of employees being interviewed and the District’s interview selection, but it was entitled to receive an anonymous letter sent to the District concerning the basketball program.
Disposition: Partial dismissal and violations found.
Perc Vol: 23
Perc Index: 30147
604.01000 – In General
EERA section 3543.5(c) imposes on the public school employer the duty to meet and confer in good faith with an exclusive representative. The employer's duty to furnish the exclusive representative with information stems from this underlying statutory duty to bargain. (Cowles Communications, Inc. (1968) 172 NLRB 1909 [69 LRRM 1100]; Stockton Unified School District (1980) PERB Decision No. 143 (Stockton).) The duty arises when the exclusive representative makes a good faith request for information relevant and necessary to its representational duties. (Stockton; see also, State of California (Department of Transportation) (1997) PERB Decision No. 1227-S (Transportation); Chula Vista City School District (1990) PERB Decision No. 834 (Chula Vista); NLRB v. Boston Herald-Traveler Corp. (1954) 210 F.2d 134 [33 LRRM 2435]; Westinghouse Elec. Supply Co. v. NLRB (1952) 196 F.2d 1012 [30 LRRM 2169].) The Board has recognized several employer defenses for failing to provide relevant information. For example, an employer need not comply with an information request if it shows the request is unduly burdensome or the requested information does not exist. (Stockton; Chula Vista.) No violation will be found if the employer responds and the union never reasserts or clarifies its request. (Oakland USD.) Since information request cases turn on the particular facts involved, each request is analyzed separately. (Chula Vista.) The exclusive representative is entitled to information which is relevant and useful to the union's determination of the merits of a grievance. (Chula Vista at p. 52, citing NLRB v. Acme (1967) 385 U.S. 432, 437-438 [64 LRRM 2069].) Where, the individual employee grievance had been filed well before the Federation's request for the list, the Federation did not establish a need for the list in order to determine the merits of that employee grievance. The Federation's claim that it needed the list to assist "potential grievants" is speculative and falls far short of establishing the necessity and relevancy of the requested information. The showing by the union must be more than a mere concoction of some general theory which explains how the information would be useful to the union in determining if the employer has committed some unknown contract violation. Where the record establishes that individuals were notified in advance that they had been selected to attend an interview, and it also establishes that no employee was denied the opportunity to request and obtain union representation during that interview, the Federation has failed to show that the list was necessary and relevant to its representational obligation to any person who was interviewed or to any specific grievant. There is no obligation for an employer to provide detail regarding the thought process or rationale underlying its managerial decisions.
604.05000 – Subjects of Information
Information pertaining immediately to mandatory subjects of bargaining is so intrinsic to the core of the employer-employee relationship that it is presumptively relevant. The employer must provide presumptively relevant information or rebut the presumption of relevance. If rebutted, the exclusive representative must demonstrate the relevance of the requested information to its representational responsibilities. (Los Angeles Unified School District (1994) PERB Decision No. 1061 (Los Angeles USD.) For information concerning subjects for which there is no presumption of relevance, the exclusive representative bears the burden of establishing that the information is relevant to its statutory representational responsibilities. (Los Angeles USD; Reiss Viking (1993) 312 NLRB 622 [145 LRRM 1190]; Duquesne Light Co. (1992) 306 NLRB 1042 [140 LRRM 1079].