Adds Sections 3505.5 and 3505.7 to, and repeals and adds Section 3505.4 of, the Government Code, relating to local public employee organizations.
The Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) governs collective bargaining of local agency represented employees. The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) generally has jurisdiction to resolve disputes and enforce the statutory duties and rights of local public agency employers and employees. The MMBA requires the governing body to meet and confer in good faith regarding wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment with representatives of recognized employee organizations. If the representatives of the public agency and the employee organization fail to reach an agreement, they may mutually agree on the appointment of a mediator and equally share the cost. If the parties reach an impasse, the MMBA provides that a public agency may unilaterally implement its last, best, and final offer.
AB 646 authorizes the employee organization, if mediation does not result in settlement within 30 days of the mediator's appointment, to request that the matter be submitted to a factfinding panel. The factfinding panel consists of one member selected by each party as well as a chairperson selected by the PERB or by agreement of the parties. The factfinding panel would be authorized to make investigations and hold hearings, and to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence. AB 646 requires all political subdivisions of the state to comply with the panel's requests for information. The factfinding requirement does not apply to charter cities or charter counties who have charter impasse procedures that include binding arbitration.
AB 646 provides that if the dispute is not settled within 30 days, the factfinding panel makes findings of fact and recommends terms of settlement, for advisory purposes only. These findings and recommendations will be first issued to the parties, but the public agency must make them publicly available within 10 days after their receipt. AB 646 provides for the distribution of costs associated with the factfinding panel, as specified.
AB 646 prohibits a public agency, until after any applicable mediation and factfinding procedures have been exhausted, from immediately implementing its last, best, and final offer. Instead, unilateral implementation cannot occur until at least 10 days after the factfinders' written findings and recommendations have been submitted to the parties and the agency has held a public hearing regarding the impasse.