Decision A511E – St. HOPE Public Schools

SA-DP-278-E

Decision Date: March 11, 2024

Decision Type: Administrative Appeal

Description:  A group of St. HOPE Public Schools (SHPS) teachers filed a petition to decertify Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) as the exclusive representative of their bargaining unit while SHPS and SCTA were negotiating their first contract. PERB’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) stayed the Petition in September 2021 based on blocking charges filed by SCTA. In October 2023, SCTA filed a new blocking charge alleging that petitioner’s lead representative was not a unit member and/or was an agent of the employer. OGC issued an administrative determination finding cause to add SCTA’s 2023 blocking charge as a further basis for the existing stay. The 2021 blocking charge and the 2023 blocking charge are currently set for separate formal hearings. SHPS timely appealed OGC’s conclusion that the 2023 blocking charge is a further basis for the existing stay.

Disposition:  The Board affirmed OGC’s decision and adopted it as the Board’s decision, as supplemented by further analysis and a clarified order. The Board reaffirmed that there is a lower bar for a stay during first contract negotiations, while noting that the complaint issued in the 2023 blocking charge included multiple claims that may establish a tendency to influence employee free choice. Based on the Board’s order, the Petition remains stayed pending final disposition of all blocking charges that warrant a stay. If SCTA fails to establish any unfair practice in the 2021 and 2023 blocking charges, and there are no further pending allegations of unfair practices warranting a stay, OGC must process the Petition. If SCTA prevails in whole or in part, OGC must determine whether to process or dismiss the Petition. Dismissal is appropriate if the proven conduct: (1) materially tainted solicitation of employee support or employees’ decision to sign the Petition, such that there is a legitimate question whether the Petition would have reached the requisite threshold absent unfair practices; (2) warrants retroactive extension of the certification bar based on SCTA’s status as an emerging union negotiating for a first contract; or (3) has a continuing prospective tendency to harm employee free choice that PERB’s remedies are unlikely to fully address, even in conjunction with the passage of time and any other relevant factors.

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