Decision 2027M – City of Riverside

LA-CE-347-M

Decision Date: May 19, 2009

Decision Type: PERB Decision

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Perc Vol: 33
Perc Index: 97

Decision Headnotes

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.01000 – In General

Pursuant to a written grievance settlement, the employer promoted part-time mini-bus drivers to higher time base positions based on seniority. The parties later executed a memorandum of understanding that by its terms superseded all side letters except “grievance resolutions documents.” The language of the MOU, viewed in light of the parties’ bargaining history, showed the MOU did not supersede the grievance settlement. Because the settlement agreement remained in effect, the employer made an unlawful unilateral change when it applied the promotion criteria contained in the MOU to mini-bus drivers without providing the union with notice or an opportunity to request to meet and confer over the change.

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.03000 – Contract Repudiation or Breach

Pursuant to a written grievance settlement, the employer promoted part-time mini-bus drivers to higher time base positions based on seniority. The parties later executed a memorandum of understanding that by its terms superseded all side letters except “grievance resolutions documents.” The language of the MOU, viewed in light of the parties’ bargaining history, showed the MOU did not supersede the grievance settlement. Because the settlement agreement remained in effect, the employer breached the agreement when it applied the promotion criteria contained in the MOU to mini-bus drivers.

1205.00000 – REMEDIES FOR UNFAIR PRACTICES; MISCELLANEOUS REMEDIAL PROVISIONS
1205.10000 – Other Affirmative Relief

To remedy an employer’s unlawful unilateral change of promotion criteria, the Board ordered the employer to reinstate the prior criteria and pay employees wages and benefits they would have received had they been promoted according to those criteria, from the date the employee would have been promoted to the date of the employee’s actual promotion. The Board did not order the unlawful promotions rescinded because invalidating the promotions of innocent employees would not serve the remedial purpose of the MMBA.

1404.00000 – GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT/ INTERPRETATION
1404.03000 – General Principles of Contract Interpretation

PERB’s interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement is guided by traditional rules of contract interpretation, including those set forth in the Civil Code. A provision of a memorandum of understanding stating that the MOU superseded all side letters except “grievance resolutions documents” was ambiguous. The parties’ bargaining history showed the MOU did not supersede a prior written grievance settlement because: (1) during bargaining, the union told the employer that it considered the grievance settlement to be a “grievance resolution document;” and (2) the testimony of the employer’s lead negotiator that he was unaware of the union’s position when he agreed to the exception language was not credible. The employer’s proffered interpretation that the exception was intended to apply only to future grievance resolutions is unreasonable because: (1) it is contrary to the plain meaning of “supersede;” and (2) it would leave the exception without effect.