Decision A418M – Workforce Investment Board of Solano County
Decision Date: November 17, 2014
Decision Type: Administrative Appeal
Description: PERB’s Office of the General Counsel concluded that employer is a public agency within the MMBA, subject both to PERB’s jurisdiction and the factfinding provisions of MMBA and PERB regulations. The Office of the General Counsel also approved the employee organization’s request that a dispute over “mid-term layoffs” be submitted to factfinding. Employer appealed.
Disposition: Board ruled that: (1) employer is not a private corporation, but a public agency within the MMBA, subject both to PERB’s jurisdiction and the factfinding provisions of MMBA and PERB regulations; and (2) employee organization’s declaration of impasse over “mid-term layoffs” was sufficient basis to invoke factfinding under the MMBA and PERB’s regulations.
Perc Vol: 39
Perc Index: 65
100.01000 – In General
The Legislature vested PERB with jurisdiction to administer and enforce the MMBA.
100.03000 – Purpose of the Act
In the MMBA, the Legislature enacted a broadly-inclusive scheme for labor relations between California’s public agencies, as defined, and their employees.
201.01000 – In General
In section 3501(c) of MMBA, the Legislature selected an expansive term, “public agency,” to describe those employers subject to the obligations of MMBA and whose employees enjoy rights thereunder. MMBA section 3501(c) includes those entities that have achieved the status of a “public agency” by statute, constitutional provision, case law or administrative precedent, and in addition those entities whose operations and characteristics bearing on their relationship to the state indicate attributes commonly associated with public bodies. In El Camino Hospital District (2009) PERB Decision No. 2033-M, the Board determined that El Camino Hospital (Hospital) was a “public agency” within MMBA section 3501(c). Operating as a non-profit public benefit corporation under California law, Hospital was “controlled” by the El Camino Hospital District (District) which was itself a “public agency” formed pursuant to the California’s Local Health Care District Law. The Board reasoned that as it was controlled by the District, Hospital was a “public agency” within section 3501(c). In addition, the Board reasoned that Hospital and District together constituted a single employer which was a “public agency” within section 3501(c) and that Hospital would be excluded from NLRB jurisdiction as a “political subdivision". Federal and California statutes also reflect control of the county workforce investment board by the State and/or the County: (1) the county workforce investment board’s local plan is developed jointly with, and is subject to approval by the County, and thereafter reviewed and approved by the Governor; (2) the local plan must be consistent with the California Workforce Investment Board state plan; (3) activities funded under the local plan must meet the mandatory specifications therefor in federal and state statute; (4) local plan implementation is subject to mandatory performance review. The county workforce investment board is a public agency within the MMBA and subject to PERB’s jurisdiction. The county workforce investment board is a political subdivision of the State of California within NLRA section 2(2).
201.05000 – Joint Powers Agreements
A joint powers agency created by several municipalities pursuant to the Joint Exercise of Powers Act is a “public agency” within MMBA section 3501(c), and therefore an MMBA employer subject to the Board’s jurisdiction.
900.02000 – Declaration/Determination of Impasse
PERB’s role in reviewing a factfinding request is limited. MMBA section 3505.4 and PERB Regulation 32802, read together, posit as sufficient conditions for factfinding under MMBA, the following: either participation in mediation or absent mediation a declaration of impasse by one of the parties, plus a request by the exclusive representative for factfinding, accompanied by a statement that the parties have been unable to effect a settlement. In reviewing a factfinding request PERB relies on the parties’ representations concerning the status of their bargaining and or mediation discussions and does not assess an employer’s defenses to its duty to bargain. Nor does PERB determine whether the party seeking factfinding has articulated with sufficient clarity its position on the issue. These are matters properly left to clarifying discussions between the parties and for resolution in an unfair practice proceeding if either party files a charge. To inject such issues into a factfinding investigation would encourage both delay and gamesmanship, thus defeating the principal purpose of factfinding, namely, through intervention of a neutral to assist the parties in reaching a voluntary and prompt resolution of their differences and thereby promote “full communication between public employers and their employees by providing a reasonable method of resolving disputes regarding wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment between public employers and public employee organizations.”
1107.20000 – Other
PERB Regulation 32360 prescribes the contents for an appeal from an administrative determination. Subdivision (c) provides that the appeal must be in writing and must state the specific issue(s) of procedures, fact, law or rationale that is appealed and state the grounds for the appeal.