Governor Brown has delivered to the Little Hoover Commission a Government Reorganization Plan (GRP). In terms of employee relations, the big change for the state is the proposed creation of a “CalHR” department that would combine the State Personnel Board and Department of Personnel Administration. However, little noticed is a proposal in the GRP that, “The Public Employment Relations Board will no longer be a stand-alone entity, but will instead be aligned with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.” Specifically, the GRP proposes to add Government Code Section 12813.5 to read:
12813.5. The Public Employment Relations Board is in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
Also in the news, the California Public Employee Relations (CPER) Program reports that the State Mediation and Conciliation Service, currently under the Department of Industrial Relations, will be moving under the jurisdiction of PERB effective July 1, 2012. According to the CPER news report, SMCS will “continue to administer elections to decertify or certify unions as exclusive bargaining agents, conduct agency shop elections, and run card check procedures.” SMCS will also continue its role of mediating bargaining and other disputes between employers and unions.
- I’m not sure what practical effect there will be to have PERB within the Labor & Workforce Agency. I’m assuming that there will be little practical impact on PERB’s stakeholders. Hopefully, being part of a larger agency will give PERB more support than it has being a stand-alone agency.
- As for the merger between PERB and SCMS, this is something that has been discussed for many years. Talk of a merger surfaced under both the Governor Davis and Governor Schwarzenegger administrations. The merger makes a lot of sense. First it will allow more communication and collaboration between the two agencies in areas where they overlap. There is also the potential for future cost savings and other efficiencies. For example, SMCS mediators might be able to conduct PERB informal settlement conferences, thereby freeing up PERB Board agents to conduct other work. All in all, I’m glad to see that this is finally happening.