Status of Binding Interest Arbitration in California

2010 witnessed several changes to the binding interest arbitration landscape in California. I thought it would be helpful to review those changes and take a look at the status of binding interest arbitration in California.

June 2010: Vallejo Repeals Binding Interest Arbitration

In June 2010, voters in the City of Vallejo passed Measure A which repealed the binding interest arbitration requirement from the City’s charter. This was a watershed event as Vallejo was the .first local entity in California to establish binding interest arbitration in 1970.

November 2010: Stockton Repeals Binding Interest Arbitration; San Jose Amends It

In November 2010, voters in the City of Stockton passed Measure H which repealed the binding interest arbitration requirement for firefighters. Also in November voters in the City of San Jose passed Measure V, which amended the city’s binding interest arbitration provision to require arbitration decisions to be based primarily on the City’s ability to pay and prohibit any decision from creating an unfunded liability.

So where do things stand? There are now 23 local entities in California that have some form of binding interest arbitration. Those entities are:

  1. Alameda
  2. Anaheim
  3. Gilroy
  4. Hayward
  5. Modesto
  6. Monterey
  7. Napa
  8. Oakland
  9. Oroville
  10. Palo Alto
  11. Petaluma
  12. Redwood City
  13. Sacramento City
  14. Sacramento County
  15. Salinas
  16. San Francisco
  17. San Jose (Amended 2010)
  18. San Leandro
  19. San Luis Obispo
  20. Santa Cruz
  21. Santa Rosa
  22. Stockton
  23. Watsonville

Of these 23:

  • Sacramento County is the only county with binding interest arbitration (unless you count San Francisco, then there are 2);
  • Anaheim is the only public entity in Southern California with binding interest arbitration;
  • San Francisco is the only public entity with binding interest arbitration covering non-safety employees. Vallejo had it too, but Vallejo repealed binding interest arbitration in 2010.
  • To my knowledge, binding interest arbitration has actually been used in 13 of the 23 entities. They are: Alameda, Anaheim, Gilroy, Hayward, Modesto, Oakland, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Sacramento City, Sacramento County, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Luis Obispo.
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