AB 537 was placed on the Appropriations Committee’s suspense file on August 19, 2013. However, on the last day to pass Appropriations, AB 537 made it out of committee with amendments designed to eliminate its fiscal impact. Specifically, the following provisions were removed from AB 537:
- The requirement for mandatory mediation;
- The requirement that local rules be adopted only after “meeting and conferring” as opposed to “consultation.”
However, the following significant changes to the MMBA remain in AB 537:
- Employers are prohibited from proposing a negotiating ground rule that limits the ability of union negotiators to communicate directly with the employer’s governing body (i.e. city council, board of supervisors);
- A governing body has 30 days to reject a Tentative Agreement on a MOU or it automatically becomes effective;
- Makes contractual arbitration subject to the California Arbitration Act; requires procedural defenses to arbitration to be submitted to the arbitrator; requires arbitration even where conduct constitutes an unfair practice.