Decision 2461M – County of Tulare

SA-CE-782-M

Decision Date: October 30, 2015

Decision Type: PERB Decision

View Full Text (PDF)

Perc Vol: 40
Perc Index: 81

Decision Headnotes

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.02000 – Inflexible Position

Employer lawfully engaged in hard bargaining by consistently maintaining that it would not agree to economic terms that involved ongoing expenses, and it explained this reason in negotiations. Employer was open to other proposals to use the one-time funds other than a furlough suspension, but union never presented a proposal that would use only one-time funds. Thus, union failed to establish that the County unlawfully insisted on its initial position by taking a “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude. A union’s charge that the county took an inflexible position of only considering one-time use of newly discovered funds is undermined when the union does not propose an alternative for using the one-time money available to the county. All of the union’s proposals were predictably unacceptable to the county because they involved a commitment of ongoing funding, a commitment the county repeatedly explained it would not make at that time.

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.03000 – Predictably Unacceptable Offer

A union’s charge that the county took an inflexible position of only considering one-time use of newly discovered funds is undermined when the union does not propose an alternative for using the one-time money available to the county. All of the union’s proposals were predictably unacceptable to the county because they involved a commitment of ongoing funding, a commitment the county repeatedly explained it would not make at that time.

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.06000 – Time Limit on Negotiations

The County did not improperly or prematurely declare impasse or set an arbitrary deadline when it asked for SEIU’s response to its LBFO by a requested date three weeks out, even when the County did not explain what would happen if SEIU did not respond by the requested date. Nor did the County insist that negotiations conclude by a certain time, and it took no action when SEIU did not respond by the requested date. Further, SEIU did not communicate to the County at any point that it had any movement to make or new proposals to offer, and SEIU’s conduct demonstrated that it believed further discussions would be futile.

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.14000 – Boulwarism

The County lawfully engaged in hard bargaining by consistently maintaining that it would not agree to economic terms that involved ongoing expenses, and it explained this reason to SEIU in negotiations. The County was open to other proposals to use the one-time funds other than a furlough suspension, but SEIU never presented a proposal that would use only one-time funds. Thus, SEIU failed to establish that the County unlawfully insisted on its initial position by taking a “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude.

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.18000 – Lack of Sufficient Authority

When ground rules make the parties’ chief spokespersons responsible for coordinating communications between the parties, the chief spokespersons may delegate their responsibilities to others. The union’s chief spokesperson directed another union representative to ask the county when it would implement its LBFO. The county replied, providing an agenda which indicated the county believed the parties were at impasse. The union did not deny receipt of the agenda or dispute the county’s belief that the parties were at impasse. The county reasonably concluded that the union had no further proposals, movement, or a desire to continue negotiations, and properly determined the parties were at impasse.

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

The County lawfully engaged in hard bargaining by consistently maintaining that it would not agree to economic terms that involved ongoing expenses, and it explained this reason to SEIU in negotiations. The County was open to other proposals to use the one-time funds other than a furlough suspension, but SEIU never presented a proposal that would use only one-time funds. Thus, SEIU failed to establish that the County unlawfully insisted on its initial position by taking a “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude.

900.00000 – IMPASSE PROCEDURES; IN GENERAL; DUTY TO PARTICIPATE IN GOOD FAITH
900.02000 – Declaration/Determination of Impasse

The County did not improperly or prematurely declare impasse or set an arbitrary deadline when it asked for SEIU’s response to its LBFO. Nor did the County insist that negotiations conclude by a certain time, and it took no action when SEIU did not respond by the requested date. Further, SEIU did not communicate to the County at any point that it had any movement to make or new proposals to offer, and SEIU’s conduct demonstrated that it believed further discussions would be futile. An agenda item may suffice to provide notice of a declaration of impasse if it is delivered to a proper official and is presented in a manner reasonably calculated to draw attention. When ground rules make the parties’ chief spokespersons responsible for coordinating communications between the parties, the chief spokespersons may delegate their responsibilities to others. The union’s chief spokesperson directed another union representative to ask the county when it would implement its LBFO. The county replied, providing an agenda which indicated the county believed the parties were at impasse. The union did not deny receipt of the agenda or dispute the county’s belief that the parties were at impasse. The county reasonably concluded that the union had no further proposals, movement, or a desire to continue negotiations, and properly determined the parties were at impasse.

900.00000 – IMPASSE PROCEDURES; IN GENERAL; DUTY TO PARTICIPATE IN GOOD FAITH
900.05000 – Post-Impasse

An employer has no affirmative obligation to implement its LBFO, especially where, as here, the union has not accepted the LBFO and has manifested clear objection to the proposed change. The employer’s only obligation is to refrain from implementing changes not reasonably comprehended in its LBFO. Where the employer has not changed anything but simply maintained the status quo after impasse, it has not violated its duty to meet and confer in good faith before implementing changes in negotiable terms and conditions of employment.