Decision 2433M – Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System

SF-CE-797-M

Decision Date: June 15, 2015

Decision Type: PERB Decision

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Perc Vol: 40
Perc Index: 4

Decision Headnotes

601.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH (FOR SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION, SEC 1000)
601.01000 – In General, Per Se and Totality of Conduct; Prima Facie Case

A hospital is not liable for failing to bargain over the implementation of a layoff where the union does not offer any concrete proposals on any negotiable subjects related to the layoffs. A union’s failure to provide alternative cost-saving measures is an appropriate factor in support of the conclusion that a hospital did not fail to bargain in good faith over the effects of a layoff. Negotiations over the effects of layoff may include the exclusive representative’s robust efforts to persuade the employer that layoffs can be avoided. Those efforts may include economic concessions, or other ideas for cost-savings, or the presentation of facts that demonstrate the layoff is not necessary or need not be as deep as management proposes. However, if an exclusive representative expects to successfully establish that an employer failed to negotiate in good faith over the effects and implementation of layoffs, the exclusive representative must participate in the give-and-take of negotiable proposals, i.e., the effects and implementation of the layoff. The union cannot monopolize negotiations with its insistence on negotiating over a non-negotiable managerial decision, i.e., the decision to lay off, and hope to delay or prevent the implementation of those layoffs by charging the employer with bad faith bargaining. An exclusive representative faced with impending layoffs of unit members may choose not to offer economic concessions in trade for fewer layoffs. But where a layoff is undertaken to reduce labor costs, a union cannot claim that the employer refused to bargain over the number of employees to be laid off when the union offers no concessions of sufficient value to the employer to obviate the need for layoffs. A union may not challenge an employer for failing to combine negotiations for a successor memorandum of agreement with layoff effects negotiations, when the union fails to respond to an invitation to open successor negotiations until after the layoff occurs

601.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH (FOR SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION, SEC 1000)
601.03000 – Decision vs Effects Bargaining

The decision to lay off is non-negotiable, because it is within the employer’s managerial prerogatives. However, the effects of the layoff are negotiable.) (A hospital is not liable for failing to bargain over the implementation of a layoff where the union does not offer any concrete proposals on any negotiable subjects related to the layoffs.) (A union’s failure to provide alternative cost-saving measures is an appropriate factor in support of the conclusion that a hospital did not fail to bargain in good faith over the effects of a layoff.) (Negotiations over the effects of layoff may include the exclusive representative’s robust efforts to persuade the employer that layoffs can be avoided. Those efforts may include economic concessions, or other ideas for cost-savings, or the presentation of facts that demonstrate the layoff is not necessary or need not be as deep as management proposes. However, if an exclusive representative expects to successfully establish that an employer failed to negotiate in good faith over the effects and implementation of layoffs, the exclusive representative must participate in the give-and-take of negotiable proposals, i.e., the effects and implementation of the layoff. The union cannot monopolize negotiations with its insistence on negotiating over a non-negotiable managerial decision, i.e. the decision to lay off, and hope to delay or prevent the implementation of those layoffs by charging the employer with bad faith bargaining.) (An exclusive representative faced with impending layoffs of unit members may choose not to offer economic concessions in trade for fewer layoffs. But where a layoff is undertaken to reduce labor costs, a union cannot claim that the employer refused to bargain over the number of employees to be laid off when the union offers no concessions of sufficient value to the employer to obviate the need for layoffs.) A union may not challenge an employer for failing to combine negotiations for a successor memorandum of agreement with layoff effects negotiations, when the union fails to respond to an invitation to open successor negotiations until after the layoff occurs. A hospital’s layoff implementation date is not arbitrary when: (1) it is pegged to economic factors external to the hospital’s decision-making authority and beyond its control; (2) the hospital exercises its management prerogative to reduce staff in light of foreseeably lower patient census numbers and a reduction in revenue; and (3) the union never proposed an alternative date for the layoffs based on a different substantive reason other than that cited by the hospital. Two months is a sufficient amount of time for a hospital to provide a union with notice of layoffs, when it is reasonably soon after the union’s date of certification as the exclusive representative of the relevant bargaining unit. Union’s assertion that a hospital resisted engaging union in discussions to rebut union’s assertions that layoffs were unnecessary is tantamount to a claim of a right to negotiate the decision to lay off. A hospital is justified in prioritizing limited negotiating time available to the effects on the employees to be laid off and deferring the issues concerning the remaining employees, especially when the union refuses to constructively engage on the hospital’s proposals on a range of effects issues typically related to employees to be laid off. A hospital is justified in prioritizing negotiations concerning the employees to be laid off over negotiations concerning the effects on the employees remaining after a layoff, when the union demands a detailed justification for the layoff and fails to engage the hospital on its effects bargaining proposals as to the employees to be laid off, and where the employer reasonably believes the effects on remaining employees will be minimal based on the reduced scope of the layoff, the prediction that patient census would further decline, and the hospital’s determination to take a wait-and-see approach using temporary schedules following the layoffs.

605.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; OTHER PER SE VIOLATIONS
605.04000 – Conditional Bargaining; Piecemeal or Fragmented Bargaining

A hospital does not engage in piecemeal, fragmented or conditional bargaining by refusing a union’s request to combine negotiations over effects of layoff with successor MOU negotiations, when the Hospital does not condition successor MOU negotiations on an agreement regarding layoff effects, and when negotiations over both matters continue after the layoffs are implemented.

608.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; DEFENSES
608.02000 – Union Bad Faith, Delay, Unreasonable or Unlawful Demands, Violence or Misconduct

A hospital is not liable for failing to bargain over the implementation of a layoff where the union does not offer any concrete proposals on any negotiable subjects related to the layoffs. A union’s failure to provide alternative cost-saving measures is an appropriate factor in support of the conclusion that a hospital did not fail to bargain in good faith over the effects of a layoff. Negotiations over the effects of layoff may include the exclusive representative’s robust efforts to persuade the employer that layoffs can be avoided. Those efforts may include economic concessions, or other ideas for cost-savings, or the presentation of facts that demonstrate the layoff is not necessary or need not be as deep as management proposes. However, if an exclusive representative expects to successfully establish that an employer failed to negotiate in good faith over the effects and implementation of layoffs, the exclusive representative must participate in the give-and-take of negotiable proposals, i.e., the effects and implementation of the layoff. The union cannot monopolize negotiations with its insistence on negotiating over a non-negotiable managerial decision, i.e., the decision to lay off, and hope to delay or prevent the implementation of those layoffs by charging the employer with bad faith bargaining. An exclusive representative faced with impending layoffs of unit members may choose not to offer economic concessions in trade for fewer layoffs. But where a layoff is undertaken to reduce labor costs, a union cannot claim that the employer refused to bargain over the number of employees to be laid off when the union offers no concessions of sufficient value to the employer to obviate the need for layoffs. A union may not challenge an employer for failing to combine negotiations for a successor memorandum of agreement with layoff effects negotiations, when the union fails to respond to an invitation to open successor negotiations until after the layoff occurs. Hospital’s failure to provide the names of employees to be laid off is excused when, despite the hospital’s attempt to submit the issue to negotiations, the union declines to discuss the order of layoff, because it desires to drill deeper into the numbers justifying the hospital’s decision to lay off. Hospital’s announcement that it will proceed by reverse seniority is excused when the union fails to give the hospital a counterproposal identifying a different number for the layoffs or a different configuration for the proposed reduction.

608.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; DEFENSES
608.03000 – Business Necessity; Employer Financial Position

A hospital’s layoff implementation date is not arbitrary when: (1) it is pegged to economic factors external to the hospital’s decision-making authority and beyond its control; (2) the hospital exercises its management prerogative to reduce staff in light of foreseeably lower patient census numbers and a reduction in revenue; and (3) the union never proposed an alternative date for the layoffs based on a different substantive reason other than that cited by the hospital.

608.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; DEFENSES
608.06000 – Management-Rights Clause; Management Prerogative

The decision to lay off is non-negotiable because it is within the employer’s managerial prerogatives. However, the effects of the layoff are negotiable.

608.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; DEFENSES
608.15000 – Hard Bargaining

Simply because a hospital rejects a union’s proposal regarding implementation of a layoff, where the proposal does nothing to ultimately save labor costs, does not mean that it refused to negotiate or bargained in bad faith.

1000.00000 – SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION
1000.02076 – Lay-Offs

The decision to lay off is non-negotiable, because it is within the employer’s managerial prerogatives. However, the effects of the layoff are negotiable. An employer may select the layoff date as an initial matter and present it to the union as its proposal for the timing of the layoff. Negotiations over the effects of layoff may include the exclusive representative’s robust efforts to persuade the employer that layoffs can be avoided. Those efforts may include economic concessions, or other ideas for cost-savings, or the presentation of facts that demonstrate the layoff is not necessary or need not be as deep as management proposes. However, if an exclusive representative expects to successfully establish that an employer failed to negotiate in good faith over the effects and implementation of layoffs, the exclusive representative must participate in the give-and-take of negotiable proposals, i.e., the effects and implementation of the layoff. The union cannot monopolize negotiations with its insistence on negotiating over a non-negotiable managerial decision, i.e., the decision to lay off, and hope to delay or prevent the implementation of those layoffs by charging the employer with bad faith bargaining. An exclusive representative faced with impending layoffs of unit members may choose not to offer economic concessions in trade for fewer layoffs. But where a layoff is undertaken to reduce labor costs, a union cannot claim that the employer refused to bargain over the number of employees to be laid off when the union offers no concessions of sufficient value to the employer to obviate the need for layoffs. While a union is not obligated to propose economic concessions in order to obviate the need for the layoff or to mitigate the severity of the layoff, if it chooses to offer concessions, our case law holds that such proposed alternatives to layoff are appropriate matters for negotiations. A union may not challenge an employer for failing to combine negotiations for a successor memorandum of agreement with layoff effects negotiations, when the union fails to respond to an invitation to open successor negotiations until after the layoff occurs. A hospital does not engage in piecemeal, fragmented or conditional bargaining by refusing a union’s request to combine negotiations over effects of layoff with successor MOU negotiations, when the Hospital does not condition successor MOU negotiations on an agreement regarding layoff effects, and when negotiations over both matters continue after the layoffs are implemented. Union’s assertion that a hospital resisted engaging union in discussions to rebut union’s assertions that layoffs were unnecessary is tantamount to a claim of a right to negotiate the decision to lay off.

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.05000 – Dilatory or Evasive Tactics

A hospital’s refusal to combine negotiations over layoff effects with the MOU negotiations does not constitute an unreasonable delay in bargaining over the successor MOU, when the delay is only eight days long.