On September 14, 2012, Governor Brown signed AB 1606. AB 1606 amends the fact-finding provision under the MMBA (Gov. Code section 3505.4). For some background see my prior posts here and here. As enacted, AB 1606 does two things:
- The bill provides that mediation is not a prerequisite to fact-finding under the MMBA. The language used in the bill largely mirrors PERB Regulation 32802.
- The bill also adds Gov. Code section 3505.4, subdivision (e), which states that, “The procedural right of an employee organization to request a factfinding panel cannot be expressly or voluntarily waived.”
- My understanding is that the sponsors wanted the new subdivision (e) because some employers were asking unions to waive fact-finding during the bargaining process. As I mentioned before, if a union doesn’t want to waive fact-finding it can always say no. However, if a union is offered something of value in exchange for waiving fact-finding what’s the harm in allowing the union to agree to it? It seems a bit short-sighted on the part of the unions.