Decision 2701I – * * * JUDICIAL APPEAL PENDING * * * Region 2 Court Interpreter Employment Relations Committee

SF-CE-11-I

Decision Date: March 16, 2020

Decision Type: PERB Decision

Description:  Charging Party excepted to a proposed decision concluding primarily that the Regional Employment Relations Committee lawfully delegated to local trial courts the duty to negotiate over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions, and therefore was not required to bargain such impacts on a regional basis. The ALJ thus dismissed several related unfair practice allegations.

Disposition:  The Board affirmed in part and reversed in part the proposed decision, finding that the Committee did not refuse to meet and confer in good faith during successor contract negotiations but earlier violated its duty to do so by refusing to engage in impact bargaining. The Board further found that various local trial courts individually violated their duty to meet and confer in good faith with Charging Party over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions.

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Decision Headnotes

104.00000 – PERB: OPERATION, JURISDICTION, AUTHORITY; STATUTORY AUTHORITY OF BOARD
104.03000 – Conclusiveness of Prior Determination by Federal Agencies, Other State Agencies or Courts

An arbitrator’s interpretation of a contract term is not binding on PERB but may be probative of the term’s meaning. (p. 40.) The Board did not find an arbitration decision probative of the question before it—whether the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions—because the decision focused solely on the individual trial court’s obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.

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 per se violation of the duty to bargain in good faith will be found where there has been a unilateral change in the status quo concerning a negotiable subject of bargaining. PERB recognizes three general categories of unlawful unilateral actions: (1) changes to the parties’ written agreement; (2) changes in an established past practice; and (3) newly created, implemented, or enforced policies. (p. 46.)

601.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH (FOR SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION, SEC 1000)
601.02000 – Persons Required to Bargain; Alter Egos, Joint Employers (See also 201)

A specific delegation of bargaining responsibility may be unlawful if it is found to be inconsistent with the obligation to bargain in good faith. (p. 35.) Although regional committees generally may delegate their bargaining authority under the Court Interpreter Act, requiring a union to individually negotiate the impacts of changes by local trial courts to retirement benefits on a court-by-court basis violates the Act’s purpose because the trial courts lack the statutory authority to change interpreters’ wages. (pp. 35-36.) A regional committee is thus required to meet and confer over the impacts of a trial court’s change to employee pension contributions, and it may not delegate that obligation to the trial court. (p. 36.)

601.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH (FOR SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION, SEC 1000)
601.02000 – Persons Required to Bargain; Alter Egos, Joint Employers (See also 201)

The regional committee committed an unfair practice by designating a trial court as its bargaining representative when doing so precluded the employee organization from negotiating over a subject within the scope of representation: wages. (p. 37.) A party cannot unilaterally determine that the existence of alternative negotiable benefits eliminates its obligation to at least consider in good faith other proposals within the scope of representation. Nor may a party insist on separating one negotiable subject from all others and thereby refuse to discuss the other subjects that may form the basis of a possible compromise. (pp. 36-37.)

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

Even when an employer has no obligation to bargain over a particular decision, it must meet and confer over any foreseeable effects of the decision on matters within the scope of representation. (p. 32.)

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

Even if an employer’s decision is nonnegotiable, it must meet and confer over any foreseeable effects the decision may have on matters within the scope of representation. Once the employer makes a firm decision, it must provide the exclusive representative notice and a reasonable opportunity to negotiate prior to taking action that affects matters within the scope of representation. Upon receiving notice of the proposed change, the exclusive representative must make a valid request to bargain any foreseeable effects of the change on negotiable matters. Generally, an employer may not implement the nonnegotiable decision until the parties have reached agreement or impasse over the negotiable effects of the decision. (p. 47.)

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

Even when an employer has no obligation to bargain over a particular decision, it must meet and confer over any foreseeable effects of the decision on matters within the scope of representation. (p. 32.)

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

To state a prima facie case for a unilateral change, the charging party must establish that: (1) the employer took action to change policy, (2) the change in policy concerns a matter within the scope of representation, (3) the action was taken without giving the exclusive representative notice or opportunity to bargain over the change, and (4) the action had a generalized effect or continuing impact on terms and conditions of employment. (pp. 46-47.)

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

Even if an employer’s decision is nonnegotiable, it must meet and confer over any foreseeable effects the decision may have on matters within the scope of representation. Once the employer makes a firm decision, it must provide the exclusive representative notice and a reasonable opportunity to negotiate prior to taking action that affects matters within the scope of representation. Upon receiving notice of the proposed change, the exclusive representative must make a valid request to bargain any foreseeable effects of the change on negotiable matters. Generally, an employer may not implement the nonnegotiable decision until the parties have reached agreement or impasse over the negotiable effects of the decision. (p. 47.)

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

Court employers failed to meet with exclusive representative before issuing written grievance responses, which summarily rejected the grievances on the basis that there had been no MOU violation. In doing so, the courts unilaterally changed policy by repudiating collectively-bargained grievance procedures. (pp. 52-55.) The failure to properly process a single grievance has a generalized effect or continuing impact on bargaining unit members’ terms and conditions of employment if the action is based upon the employer’s belief that it had a contractual right to take the action without negotiating with the union. (p. 54.)

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

Employer’s offer to meet and confer with the exclusive representative over the elimination of a stipend after notifying the representative that it would stop making the payments does not ameliorate its unilateral change in past practice. When the exclusive representative first learns of a negotiable change after the decision has been made, by definition, there has been inadequate notice. (p. 56.)

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.02000 – Prior Notice and Opportunity to Bargain

Even if an employer’s decision is nonnegotiable, it must meet and confer over any foreseeable effects the decision may have on matters within the scope of representation. Once the employer makes a firm decision, it must provide the exclusive representative notice and a reasonable opportunity to negotiate prior to taking action that affects matters within the scope of representation. Upon receiving notice of the proposed change, the exclusive representative must make a valid request to bargain any foreseeable effects of the change on negotiable matters. Generally, an employer may not implement the nonnegotiable decision until the parties have reached agreement or impasse over the negotiable effects of the decision. (p. 47.)

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.02000 – Prior Notice and Opportunity to Bargain

Employer’s offer to meet and confer with the exclusive representative over the elimination of a stipend after notifying the representative that it would stop making the payments does not ameliorate its unilateral change in past practice. When the exclusive representative first learns of a negotiable change after the decision has been made, by definition, there has been inadequate notice. (p. 56.)

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

Grievance procedures are within the scope of representation and an employer’s failure or refusal to process a grievance in accordance with collectively-bargained grievance procedures may be reviewed as a unilateral change. (p. 50.)

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

Court employers failed to meet with exclusive representative before issuing written grievance responses, which summarily rejected the grievances on the basis that there had been no MOU violation. In doing so, the courts unilaterally changed policy by repudiating collectively-bargained grievance procedures. (pp. 52-55.) The failure to properly process a single grievance has a generalized effect or continuing impact on bargaining unit members’ terms and conditions of employment if the action is based upon the employer’s belief that it had a contractual right to take the action without negotiating with the union. (p. 54.)

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.04000 – Time of Implementation

Even if an employer’s decision is nonnegotiable, it must meet and confer over any foreseeable effects the decision may have on matters within the scope of representation. Once the employer makes a firm decision, it must provide the exclusive representative notice and a reasonable opportunity to negotiate prior to taking action that affects matters within the scope of representation. Upon receiving notice of the proposed change, the exclusive representative must make a valid request to bargain any foreseeable effects of the change on negotiable matters. Generally, an employer may not implement the nonnegotiable decision until the parties have reached agreement or impasse over the negotiable effects of the decision. (p. 47.)

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.04000 – Time of Implementation

Individual courts unilaterally implemented employee pension contribution changes while their Regional Committee and the exclusive representative were negotiating over the effects of those changes. The courts could not implement the changes until the negotiations resulted in an agreement or a good faith impasse unless the implementation date was based on an immutable deadline or an important managerial interest, such that a delay in implementation beyond the date chosen would effectively undermine the employer’s right to make the nonnegotiable decision. (pp. 48-49.)

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.06000 – Change in Past Practice

The parties’ practical construction of a contract, as shown by their actions, is important evidence of their intent. (p. 40.) However, based on a non-waiver clause in the parties’ MOU, the union did not waive its contractual right to meet and confer with the regional committee over the impact of future changes to employee pension contributions simply by doing so previously with one of the trial courts. The Board further declined to consider evidence of the union’s conduct as it related to other regional committees. (pp. 40-41, fn. 31.)

602.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; UNILATERAL CHANGE (FOR NEGOT OF SPECIFIC SUBJECTS, SEE SEC 1000, SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION)
602.06000 – Change in Past Practice

A unilateral change in an established past practice may constitute unlawful action. A binding past practice is one which is unequivocal, clearly enunciated and acted upon, and readily ascertainable over a reasonable period of time as a fixed and established practice accepted by both parties, or which is regular and consistent or historic and accepted. (p. 55.)

605.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; OTHER PER SE VIOLATIONS
605.01000 – Outright Refusal to Bargain

A specific delegation of bargaining responsibility may be unlawful if it is found to be inconsistent with the obligation to bargain in good faith. (p. 35.) Although regional committees generally may delegate their bargaining authority under the Court Interpreter Act, requiring a union to individually negotiate the impacts of changes by local trial courts to retirement benefits on a court-by-court basis violates the Act’s purpose because the trial courts lack the statutory authority to change interpreters’ wages. (pp. 35-36.) A regional committee is thus required to meet and confer over the impacts of a trial court’s change to employee pension contributions, and it may not delegate that obligation to the trial court. (p. 36.)

605.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; OTHER PER SE VIOLATIONS
605.01000 – Outright Refusal to Bargain

The regional committee committed an unfair practice by designating a trial court as its bargaining representative when doing so precluded the employee organization from negotiating over a subject within the scope of representation: wages. (p. 37.) A party cannot unilaterally determine that the existence of alternative negotiable benefits eliminates its obligation to at least consider in good faith other proposals within the scope of representation. Nor may a party insist on separating one negotiable subject from all others and thereby refuse to discuss the other subjects that may form the basis of a possible compromise. (pp. 36-37.)

605.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; OTHER PER SE VIOLATIONS
605.01000 – Outright Refusal to Bargain

An outright refusal to bargain over matters within the scope of representation is a per se violation of the duty to bargain in good faith. (p. 37.)

605.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; OTHER PER SE VIOLATIONS
605.01000 – Outright Refusal to Bargain

A blanket refusal to bargain is a per se violation of the duty to bargain in good faith, including when an employer fails to provide the union with any rationale for rejecting its proposal. (pp. 42-43.)

605.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; OTHER PER SE VIOLATIONS
605.01000 – Outright Refusal to Bargain

The employer’s expressed concern that a union’s specific proposal violates the law did not signal an outright refusal to bargain where the evidence shows the employer continued to negotiate over the issue in general. (p. 44.) The employer’s unlawful position that regional bargaining was not required did not evidence bad faith in the parties’ successor MOU negotiations because the employer’s stated position pertained to discussions about the parties’ “current” contract and its response to the union’s notification of anticipated litigation. (p. 45.)

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

The regional committee committed an unfair practice by designating a trial court as its bargaining representative when doing so precluded the employee organization from negotiating over a subject within the scope of representation: wages. (p. 37.) A party cannot unilaterally determine that the existence of alternative negotiable benefits eliminates its obligation to at least consider in good faith other proposals within the scope of representation. Nor may a party insist on separating one negotiable subject from all others and thereby refuse to discuss the other subjects that may form the basis of a possible compromise. (pp. 36-37.)

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.04000 – Failure to Explain Proposal

A blanket refusal to bargain is a per se violation of the duty to bargain in good faith, including when an employer fails to provide the union with any rationale for rejecting its proposal. (pp. 42-43.)

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.04000 – Failure to Explain Proposal

Evidence that an employer exchanged numerous proposals and explained the rationale behind its proposals demonstrated its good faith during successor MOU negotiations. (pp. 42-44.)

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.04000 – Failure to Explain Proposal

Although the regional committee did not provide written support for concerns it expressed during bargaining, it clearly communicated those concerns at the bargaining table and identified them as the reason for its alternative proposals. Absent evidence that it failed to respond to an information request for such written records, or other indicia of bad faith, the Board concluded it negotiated in good faith. (pp. 45-46.)

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.08000 – Conduct Outside of Negotiations; Prior UPs

The employer’s expressed concern that a union’s specific proposal violates the law did not signal an outright refusal to bargain where the evidence shows the employer continued to negotiate over the issue in general. (p. 44.) The employer’s unlawful position that regional bargaining was not required did not evidence bad faith in the parties’ successor MOU negotiations because the employer’s stated position pertained to discussions about the parties’ “current” contract and its response to the union’s notification of anticipated litigation. (p. 45.)

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.09000 – Failure to Treat Bargaining Obligation Seriously

Evidence that an employer exchanged numerous proposals and explained the rationale behind its proposals demonstrated its good faith during successor MOU negotiations. (pp. 42-44.)

606.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; NEGOTIATIONS; INDICIA OF SURFACE OR BAD FAITH BARGAINING; TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES
606.11000 – Failure to Provide Counter-Proposals

Evidence that an employer exchanged numerous proposals and explained the rationale behind its proposals demonstrated its good faith during successor MOU negotiations. (pp. 42-44.)

608.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; DEFENSES
608.01000 – In General

Employer’s offer to meet and confer with the exclusive representative over the elimination of a stipend after notifying the representative that it would stop making the payments does not ameliorate its unilateral change in past practice. When the exclusive representative first learns of a negotiable change after the decision has been made, by definition, there has been inadequate notice. (p. 56.)

608.00000 – EMPLOYER REFUSAL TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH; DEFENSES
608.12000 – Good Faith; DeMinimus; Temporary Change

Employer’s offer to meet and confer with the exclusive representative over the elimination of a stipend after notifying the representative that it would stop making the payments does not ameliorate its unilateral change in past practice. When the exclusive representative first learns of a negotiable change after the decision has been made, by definition, there has been inadequate notice. (p. 56.)

1000.00000 – SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION
1000.02057 – Grievance Procedure

Grievance procedures are within the scope of representation and an employer’s failure or refusal to process a grievance in accordance with collectively-bargained grievance procedures may be reviewed as a unilateral change. (p. 50.)

1000.00000 – SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION
1000.02100 – Past Practices

A unilateral change in an established past practice may constitute unlawful action. A binding past practice is one which is unequivocal, clearly enunciated and acted upon, and readily ascertainable over a reasonable period of time as a fixed and established practice accepted by both parties, or which is regular and consistent or historic and accepted. (p. 55.)

1102.00000 – CASE PROCESSING PROCEDURES; DEFERRAL TO ARBITRATION
1102.02000 – Post Arbitration; Repugnancy

An arbitrator’s interpretation of a contract term is not binding on PERB but may be probative of the term’s meaning. (p. 40.) The Board did not find an arbitration decision probative of the question before it—whether the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions—because the decision focused solely on the individual trial court’s obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.

1102.00000 – CASE PROCESSING PROCEDURES; DEFERRAL TO ARBITRATION
1102.03000 – Other

An arbitrator’s interpretation of a contract term is not binding on PERB but may be probative of the term’s meaning. (p. 40.) The Board did not find an arbitration decision probative of the question before it—whether the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions—because the decision focused solely on the individual trial court’s obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.

1107.00000 – CASE PROCESSING PROCEDURES;PROCEDURES BEFORE THE BOARD
1107.02000 – Weight Given to ALJ’s Proposed Decision: Findings, Conclusions, Credibility Resolutions

In resolving exceptions to a proposed decision the Board applies a de novo standard of review, and is free to make different factual findings and reach different legal conclusions than those in the proposed decision. (p. 31.)

No items found

In resolving exceptions to a proposed decision the Board applies a de novo standard of review, and is free to make different factual findings and reach different legal conclusions than those in the proposed decision. (p. 31.)

1107.00000 – CASE PROCESSING PROCEDURES;PROCEDURES BEFORE THE BOARD
1107.06000 – De Novo Review; Standard of Review by Board

An arbitrator’s interpretation of a contract term is not binding on PERB but may be probative of the term’s meaning. (p. 40.) The Board did not find an arbitration decision probative of the question before it—whether the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions—because the decision focused solely on the individual trial court’s obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.

1107.00000 – CASE PROCESSING PROCEDURES;PROCEDURES BEFORE THE BOARD
1107.20000 – Other

An arbitrator’s interpretation of a contract term is not binding on PERB but may be probative of the term’s meaning. (p. 40.) The Board did not find an arbitration decision probative of the question before it—whether the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions—because the decision focused solely on the individual trial court’s obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.

1404.00000 – GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT/ INTERPRETATION
1404.01000 – In General

Although PERB lacks the authority to enforce contracts, it may interpret them when necessary to resolve an unfair practice allegation. In such cases, traditional rules of contract law guide the Board’s interpretation. Where the contractual language is clear and unambiguous, it is unnecessary to go beyond the plain language of the contract itself to ascertain its meaning. However, where the contract language is silent or ambiguous, PERB may examine past practice or bargaining history. (p. 38.) Under the plain language of the parties’ contract, the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions by the local trial courts. (p. 39.)

1404.00000 – GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT/ INTERPRETATION
1404.01000 – In General

The parties’ practical construction of a contract, as shown by their actions, is important evidence of their intent. (p. 40.) However, based on a non-waiver clause in the parties’ MOU, the union did not waive its contractual right to meet and confer with the regional committee over the impact of future changes to employee pension contributions simply by doing so previously with one of the trial courts. The Board further declined to consider evidence of the union’s conduct as it related to other regional committees. (pp. 40-41, fn. 31.)

1404.00000 – GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT/ INTERPRETATION
1404.02000 – Board’s Jurisdiction To Interpret Contracts

Although PERB lacks the authority to enforce contracts, it may interpret them when necessary to resolve an unfair practice allegation. In such cases, traditional rules of contract law guide the Board’s interpretation. Where the contractual language is clear and unambiguous, it is unnecessary to go beyond the plain language of the contract itself to ascertain its meaning. However, where the contract language is silent or ambiguous, PERB may examine past practice or bargaining history. (p. 38.) Under the plain language of the parties’ contract, the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions by the local trial courts. (p. 39.)

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

Although PERB lacks the authority to enforce contracts, it may interpret them when necessary to resolve an unfair practice allegation. In such cases, traditional rules of contract law guide the Board’s interpretation. Where the contractual language is clear and unambiguous, it is unnecessary to go beyond the plain language of the contract itself to ascertain its meaning. However, where the contract language is silent or ambiguous, PERB may examine past practice or bargaining history. (p. 38.) Under the plain language of the parties’ contract, the regional committee was contractually obligated to bargain over the impacts of changes to employee pension contributions by the local trial courts. (p. 39.)

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

The parties’ practical construction of a contract, as shown by their actions, is important evidence of their intent. (p. 40.) However, based on a non-waiver clause in the parties’ MOU, the union did not waive its contractual right to meet and confer with the regional committee over the impact of future changes to employee pension contributions simply by doing so previously with one of the trial courts. The Board further declined to consider evidence of the union’s conduct as it related to other regional committees. (pp. 40-41, fn. 31.)

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

A zipper clause does not preclude midterm negotiations where the language of a specific contract provision clearly contemplates midterm negotiations. (p. 41.)

1407.00000 – GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
1407.01000 – General Principles

The fundamental task in statutory construction is ascertaining the Legislature’s intent so as to effectuate the purpose of the law. When interpreting a statute, PERB begins with its plain meaning, affording the words their ordinary and usual meaning and giving meaning to every word of the statute, if possible, to avoid a construction that makes any word surplusage. If the terms of the statute are unambiguous, PERB assumes the Legislature meant what it said. (pp, 32-33.)

1407.00000 – GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
1407.01000 – General Principles

Only where the plain meaning of a statute is unclear may PERB turn to other extrinsic sources to discern legislative intent, such as maxims of construction, legislative history, and the wider historical context of the statute’s enactment. (p. 33.)