AB 2850 was introduced on February 21, 2020, by Assembly Member Low. Like most transit districts, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) is governed by the Public Utilities Code (PUC) for its operations, including its labor relations. Initially, this bill would have placed BART under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, therefore making it subject to PERB’s jurisdiction. However, the bill was recently amended to keep BART under the PUC’s labor relations statutes but to place it under PERB’s jurisdiction for enforcement. If enacted, this bill would create yet another unique statutory scheme under PERB’s jurisdiction.
In 2018, Governor Brown vetoed AB 2886 which would have added the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the San Joaquin Regional Transit District to PERB’s jurisdiction. In his veto message, Governor Brown noted that PERB’s jurisdiction has steadily increased over the years while its funding has not. According to Governor Brown, until PERB is able to handle its workload its jurisdiction should not be further expanded. Then, in 2019, Governor Newsom signed AB 355 which added the OCTA to PERB’s jurisdiction.
As of July 3, 2020, the Board’s docket of cases is down to 16, which is likely a modern day record low. So the concerns about workload expressed just a few years ago may not be a pressing today. The bill has passed the Assembly and is currently pending in the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement.