SB 270 Advances to Assembly; Provides for Fee Award to PERB

SB 270 was introduced by Senator Durazo on January 28, 2021. As I previously wrote, SB 270 allows a union to file a special unfair practice charge when an employer provides inaccurate employee contact information. The bill provides that if PERB finds a violation, it “shall” impose a penalty on the employer not to exceed $10,000. SB 270 also provides for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs to the prevailing party if the case goes to a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

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Court of Appeal Modifies Remedy in Retaliation Case

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City of South Pasadena v PERB (2020) PERB Case No. 2692-M; Court of Appeal Case No. B304596

This case involves a firefighter who aggravated an existing back injury in December 2015 while observing a demonstration from another firefighter. The firefighter said that his back began to spasm and that he could not even stand up the day after observing the demonstration. His doctor took him off of work for six weeks. On January 30, 2016, the firefighter participated in the California Spartan Race – an approximately eight-mile run over varied terrain with obstacles. The city subsequently launched an investigation of the firefighter which concluded that he had engaged in dishonesty and abuse of sick leave. The firefighter was terminated.

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SB 270: New Attempt at Imposing Monetary Penalties for Violation of PECC

SB 270 was introduced by Senator Durazo on January 28, 2021. Senator Durazo introduced a nearly identical bill, SB 1173, in the last legislative session. SB 1173 initially passed the Senate, and then passed the Assembly with amendments. However, the Senate was unable to concur in the Assembly amendments before the legislative session ended. The language of SB 1173 is now in SB 270.

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AB 237: Mandates Health Insurance for Striking Employees.

AB 237 was introduced on January 13, 2021, by Assembly Member Gray. This bill would create a new chapter in the Government Code, the “Public Employee Health Protection Act.” AB 237 would require an employer to continue paying its portion of an employee’s health insurance premium during the pendency of any strike. According to the language of the bill, “It is a matter of statewide concern that access to health and other medical care continue and that employers not suspend coverage or their contributions towards premiums for workers or their dependent family members during a strike.”

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PERB: Mediation Not Required Before Factfinding Under MMBA

County of Santa Clara (2020) PERB Dec. No. A483-M (Issued on 12/17/20)

In this case a union declared impasse in its negotiations with a county and requested factfinding under MMBA section 3505.4. The county’s local rules, however, require that the parties engage in mediation when there is an impasse in negotiations. Since the union did not request mediation, the county challenged the union’s request to PERB for factfinding. The Office of the General Counsel approved the union’s factfinding request and the Board affirmed.

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