Decision A483M – County of Santa Clara

SF-IM-230-M

Decision Date: December 17, 2020

Decision Type: Administrative Appeal

Description:  Employer appealed an administrative determination by PERB’s Office of the General Counsel to approve a request by the Santa Clara-San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council pursuant to the MMBA that the parties’ bargaining differences be submitted to a factfinding panel.

Disposition:  The Board affirmed the determination.

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Decision Headnotes

900.00000 – IMPASSE PROCEDURES; IN GENERAL; DUTY TO PARTICIPATE IN GOOD FAITH
900.01000 – In General

PERB’s review of a factfinding request is limited to determining whether the request satisfies the procedural requirements of MMBA section 3505.4 and PERB Regulation 32802. That is, PERB does not evaluate whether the parties are in fact at impasse. Nor is it required to determine whether the impasse concerns a matter within the scope of representation. Rather, PERB’s inquiry is limited to determining whether (1) there was “a written declaration of impasse from either party, or the appointment or selection of a mediator,” and (2) the factfinding request was timely filed after one of these triggering events. Here, it is undisputed that the Council gave the County a written declaration of impasse on September 24 and filed its factfinding request within 30 days of the impasse declaration, thereby satisfying the procedural requirements under MMBA section 3505.4, subdivision (a) and PERB Regulation 32802(a)(2). The Board rejected the County’s proffered interpretation of MMBA section 3504.4, subdivision (a) as inconsistent with PERB Regulations. Contrary to the County’s contention, MMBA section 3505.4, subdivision (a) does not condition factfinding on the completion of mediation mandated by an agency’s local rules. Rather, the selection or appointment of a mediator under either “the parties’ agreement to mediate or a mediation process required by a public agency’s local rules” establishes the applicable window period within which the employee organization must request factfinding. Here, no mediator was selected or appointed. (pp. 4-6)

900.00000 – IMPASSE PROCEDURES; IN GENERAL; DUTY TO PARTICIPATE IN GOOD FAITH
900.04000 – During Impasse

PERB’s review of a factfinding request is limited to determining whether the request satisfies the procedural requirements of MMBA section 3505.4 and PERB Regulation 32802. That is, PERB does not evaluate whether the parties are in fact at impasse. Nor is it required to determine whether the impasse concerns a matter within the scope of representation. Rather, PERB’s inquiry is limited to determining whether (1) there was “a written declaration of impasse from either party, or the appointment or selection of a mediator,” and (2) the factfinding request was timely filed after one of these triggering events. Here, it is undisputed that the Council gave the County a written declaration of impasse on September 24 and filed its factfinding request within 30 days of the impasse declaration, thereby satisfying the procedural requirements under MMBA section 3505.4, subdivision (a) and PERB Regulation 32802(a)(2). The Board rejected the County’s proffered interpretation of MMBA section 3504.4, subdivision (a) as inconsistent with PERB Regulations. Contrary to the County’s contention, MMBA section 3505.4, subdivision (a) does not condition factfinding on the completion of mediation mandated by an agency’s local rules. Rather, the selection or appointment of a mediator under either “the parties’ agreement to mediate or a mediation process required by a public agency’s local rules” establishes the applicable window period within which the employee organization must request factfinding. Here, no mediator was selected or appointed. (pp. 4-6.)