I previously wrote about AB 530 and SB 548 here. In summary, AB 530 would have made peace officers subject to PERB’s jurisdiction for the first time. In contrast, SB 548 would have removed firefighters from PERB’s jurisdiction. However, both bills have since been amended. Here’s an update:
This bill has been completely amended. It no longer involves firefighters. Instead, SB 548 codifies PERB Regulation 32147 which provides that the board, the Chief ALJ, or the General Counsel may grant expedited status for any matter if certain conditions are met. But SB 548 goes further and provides that for matters under the MMBA and Dills Act, expedited status must be granted if the matter involves: 1) a bargaining dispute where early resolution is likely to improve relations between the parties; 2) the adoption or modification of a local rule related to bargaining; or 3) an information request necessary for bargaining. If expedited status is granted to a case under the MMBA or Dills Act, the Board must “render a final decision within 150 days of the request.
This bill has also been amended. It still brings all peace officers, except those working for the City or County of Los Angeles, under PERB’s jurisdiction. However, the bill now provides that even though peace officers are subject to PERB, a peace officer union may go directly to superior court to seek injunctive relief instead of having to go through PERB. This bill is currently in the suspense file due to the potential increased costs to PERB.
- Although I like the intent, I can envision PERB having major problems complying with SB 548. This is because the proposed criteria for expediting a MMBA or Dills Act case is very broad. Also, if a request to expedite is made when a charge is first filed, PERB would have to move very quickly to render a final decision in 150 days. This would include the investigation of the charge, the issuance of a complaint, the informal conference, the formal hearing, and any board action. It now takes one to two years for this process to take place. So obviously this process would have to change to meet a 150-day deadline.
- I’m strongly opposed to AB 530 as amended. I’m not necessarily opposed to peace officers coming under PERB’s jurisdiction, although since I’m used to the current system I would rather leave things the way they are now. My opposition is to peace officers, and only peace officers, having the ability to bypass PERB and go straight to superior court for injunctive relief. Public employers would love to have this option. Whatever public policy rationale there is to support the peace officer’s request, I’m sure the same considerations would apply to public employers. It seems very one-sided and unfair to grant this option only to certain unions, and not employers.