Rare Case of PERB Taking Jurisdiction Over a Transit Agency

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (2018) PERB Order No. Ad-460-M (Issued on 1/23/18)

This case was interesting because most independent transit districts, such as the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (System), are not subject to PERB’s jurisdiction.  But here, the System’s enabling statutes give the State Mediation and Conciliation Service (SMCS) jurisdiction to investigate and issue determinations concerning representation. These enabling statutes were enacted back when SMCS was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Industrial Relations. But in 2012, SCMS was transferred to PERB. Following the transfer PERB issued regulations governing SMCS’s handling of cases arising under the various public transit statutes.

In this case, the Transit Electromechanics Union’s (TEU) filed a petition for certification to represent certain employees at the System. SMCS denied the petition on the grounds that federal authority did not allow the severing of a smaller unit of employees from an existing bargaining unit. Initially, the Office of Appeals said that it did not have jurisdiction over this matter. However, the Board held that under its regulations, it did have jurisdiction to consider TEU’s appeal.

Comments:

  1. I thought this case was interesting because it’s rare for an independent transit agency to fall under PERB’s jurisdiction. Here, it’s the very narrow area of dealing with petitions for certification. Under PERB’s regulations, the Board is required to apply the “relevant federal law and administrative practice developed under the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, as amended” in resolving questions of representation.
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