Last week Assembly members Roger Hernandez and Michael Allen introduced AB 195 which would codify employer unfair practices under the MMBA. The bill would delete Government Code section 3506 and replace it with the following:
3506. A public agency shall not do any of the following:
(a) Impose or threaten to impose reprisals on employees, to discriminate or threaten to discriminate against employees, or otherwise to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of their exercise of rights guaranteed by this chapter. For purposes of this subdivision, “employee” includes an applicant for employment or reemployment.
(b) Deny to employee organizations the rights guaranteed to them by this chapter.
(c) Refuse or fail to meet and negotiate in good faith with a recognized employee organization. For purposes of this subdivision, knowingly providing a recognized employee organization with inaccurate information, whether or not in response to a request for information, constitutes a refusal or failure to meet and negotiate in good faith.
(d) Dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any employee organization, contribute financial or other support to any employee organization, or in any way encourage employees to join any organization in preference to another.
(e) Refuse to participate in good faith in an applicable impasse procedure.
- The MMBA is unique among the four major public sector labor relations statutes because it does not set forth specific unfair practices in the statute itself. Because of this, PERB promulgated regulations setting forth unfair practices under the MMBA for both employers and employee organizations. (PERB Regs. 32604, 32604.) The regulations are substantially similar to the language defining unfair practices under the other acts. (See, e.g., Gov. Code, § 3519, 3543.5, 3571.)
- Interestingly, AB 195 uses language from EERA (Gov. Code, § 3543.5) rather than just using the current MMBA regulation language. The big difference is that EERA contains language making it an unfair practice for a school employer to provide “inaccurate information” regarding its financial resources to an exclusive representative. (Gov. Code, § 3543.5.) AB 195 adopts this language but tweaks it slightly. Under AB 195, it would become an unfair practice to provide an exclusive representative with “inaccurate information” whether related to finances or not.
- Finally, it should be noted that Gov. Code section 3506 currently prohibits both employers and employee organizations from intimidating or discriminating against employees. AB 195 would delete this language and replace it with language only prohibiting employers from such actions. There would be no similar prohibition against unions from engaging in such conduct. Is the intent therefore that unions would be free to intimidate and discriminate against employees—for example, by pressuring employees to vote a certain way during representation elections? It’s not clear. Because the bill was just introduced there isn’t an analysis yet for the bill. Once the analysis is released perhaps we’ll learn more.