Decision 2871P – Sacramento Regional Transit District


Decision Date: August 31, 2023

Decision Type: PERB Decision

Description: American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 146 (AFSCME) filed a petition to represent a bargaining unit of 13 unrepresented Superintendents at Sacramento Regional Transit District. The parties stipulated that the Superintendents’ duties are sufficient to qualify them as supervisors and/or managers. The District claimed Superintendents have no collective bargaining rights under its enabling statute, the Sacramento Regional Transit District Act (Sacramento RTD Act, PUC, § 102000 et seq). AFSCME disagreed. A hearing officer appointed by the State Mediation and Conciliation Service (SMCS) ruled in AFSCME’s favor, and the District filed exceptions. In its response and cross-exceptions, AFSCME supported the hearing officer’s decision but also asserted that the hearing officer should have found the District is estopped from making its argument since it has long recognized AFSCME as the exclusive representative of a separate supervisory unit.

Disposition: The Board affirmed the hearing officer’s conclusion that Superintendents have collective bargaining rights under the Sacramento RTD Act and there is no need to resolve AFSCME’s estoppel argument. The Board explained that federal law and practice are generally relevant to unit determinations under the PUC transit enabling acts unless the question presented is governed by an explicit provision of the applicable transit district statute, or considerations unique to public sector labor relations require a deviation from federal law. Federal law and practice are not relevant in this instance given that: (1) the Sacramento RTD Act does not share the NLRA’s explicit exclusion of supervisors, nor its legislative history underlying the managerial exclusion; and (2) precedent from the Department of Industrial Relations, PERB, and the courts of appeal, as well as decades of practice, confirm that the federal supervisory and managerial exclusions are not relevant to the PUC transit enabling acts. The Board directed SMCS to continue processing AFSCME’s petition.

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