Bruce Barsook

Bruce Barsook Partner

Bruce Barsook has been with the firm since 1981 and has concentrated in education and public sector employment and labor law for more than thirty years. Bruce has extensive expertise in education and employment law issues including traditional labor relations, discipline, conflicts of interest, retirement, open meeting laws and employment discrimination.  He has a wealth of experience in collective bargaining, fact finding hearings, court litigation, arbitrations, and other employment law administrative proceedings. In negotiations, Bruce excels in forging strong, effective relationships both with clients and with employee organization representatives. Additionally, Bruce advises schools and community colleges regarding board, faculty, staff, and student issues, including discipline, leaves and contractual issues.

Prior to joining Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Bruce served both as counsel and as an Administrative Law Judge for the Public Employment Relations Board. In those capacities, he was involved in drafting and making precedential decisions that affected the direction of public sector labor law during a dramatic period in its evolution.

Bruce has utilized his expertise in public sector employment relations on behalf of many city, county, special district, school district, and community college clients. He presents a number of the firm's workshops on education, labor and employment law topics and has also published a significant number of articles in the areas of his expertise.

Bruce is an editor of the California Public Sector Employment Law book, State Bar of California/LexisNexis (2011).  Bruce Barsook is a former  member, Treasurer, and advisor to the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Labor and Employment Law Section.  He was also a long-standing member of the Editorial Board of the State Bar of California Labor and Employment Law Review, as well as a contributor and editor of the Public Sector Notes section of the State Bar of California Labor and Employment Law Review.

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles

NEGOTIATIONS

Bargaining Table – County - In his role as chief negotiator for the county, Bruce helped the county negotiate agreements with bargaining groups that achieved county objectives of: (1) basing economic settlements on a financially prudent, total compensation approach; (2) having employees pay their full member contributions toward retirement; and (3) implementing cost containment recommendations regarding medical insurance.

Bargaining Table – City - Acted as chief negotiator for the city in its negotiations with police, and general employee bargaining units. City reached an agreement with all groups; agreements included including increasing retirement contribution rates through offsetting salary increases; agreements also included provisions establishing a city-wide health insurance committee, and modification to various leave policies.

Bargaining Table – Community College District - Assisted the district to negotiate a multi-year agreement with its faculty association regarding such issues as wages, evaluation procedures, extra duty assignments and intellectual property rights.

Factfinding Hearing –City - Represented the city in two factfinding cases, one with aits newly formed attorney bargaining unit and the other with its management employee bargaining unit. In both cases, the recommendations of the neutral factfinding chair were overwhelmingly supportive of the city's positions on the issues in disputes. Issues addressed included salaries, retirement contributions, health insurance, and leaves. One factfinding resulted in an agreement, the other resulted in unilateral implementation by the city council followed by a decertification of the employee organization.

Factfinding Hearing – County - Represented the county in three factfinding cases. Each of the cases resulted in favorable rulings from the factfinding chair.

Factfinding Hearing – College District - Represented the college district in factfinding with its faculty association.  Factfinding chair supported the district's position on the vast majority of issues, including salaries, class size, calendar, compensation for large group instruction, part-time faculty office hours, and leaves.

Factfinding Hearing – Community College District - Represented the college district in factfinding with its classified employee's bargaining group. Factfinding chair supported the district's position in its entirety. The district was able to show that a dire financial situation required significant modifications to the classified employees' salary schedule.

PERB

Union v. County - Prevailed in a PERB charge filed by IUOE which accused the County of unlawfully insisting to impasse on the elimination of employer-paid member contributions toward retirement and imposing the increase without an agreement by the Union.  The ALJ ruled that the County had a legal right to negotiate the proposed change in retirement contributions (post PEPRA), negotiated the subject matter in good faith and lawfully unilaterally imposed changes in employees’ retirement contributions following exhaustion of the statutory impasse procedures notwithstanding the fact that the resulting cost to employees exceeded 50% of the normal contribution rate (which results from an earlier agreement that employees would pay the increased cost of an enhanced retirement benefit).

Union v. County - Union accused the county of unlawfully insisting to impasse on the elimination of employer-paid member contributions toward retirement and imposing the increase without an agreement by the Union. The ALJ ruled that the county had a legal right to negotiate the proposed change in retirement contributions (post PEPRA), negotiated the subject matter in good faith and lawfully unilaterally imposed changes in employees' retirement contributions following exhaustion of the statutory impasse procedures notwithstanding the fact that the resulting cost to employees exceeded 50% of the normal contribution rate (which resulted from an earlier agreement that employees would pay the increased cost of an enhanced retirement benefit).

Employee Association v. Superior Court - Bruce represented a Superior Court in this Public Employment Relations Board proceeding. In a case in which the parties stipulated to the facts, the administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled that the court was not obligated to negotiate implementation of an electronic storage system to archive court reporters' notes because the union failed to articulate any negotiable subjects in its request to negotiate.  Although the union expressed concerns regarding the security of electronic files, an alleged requirement to sign an affidavit, and access to the files, none of these concerns, according to the ALJ, affected employees' terms and conditions of employment.

ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS

Community College District - Employee organization alleged that the district failed to properly implement a salary formula based on salary information from the district and six comparable districts, as reported on the State Chancellor's Office website.  After the district filed its information with the Chancellor's Office, it discovered that there was a significant error in its data.  It submitted a corrected report to the State, as required by law.  The employee organization filed a grievance, claiming that it was entitled to a salary increase based on the originally reported but erroneous figures. The arbitrator ruled that the District properly corrected the data filed in error and that therefore, employees were entitled to a 1.44% increase rather than the 8.23% increase claimed by the union.

College District - Represented the district in a case before the Community College District Board of Trustees to dismiss a police corporal, the highest ranking district employee in the College's police department, for engaging in sexual harassment of co-workers.  Although the corporal was a long time employee without a prior disciplinary record, Bruce was able to demonstrate that dismissal was warranted because the corporal not only failed to prevent or stop inappropriate action, but was also its leading perpetrator.  Employee made crude, vulgar and objectifying comments about the physical attributes, sexual orientation and/or sexual activity regarding students, co-workers and citizens; made racist comments about African-American students; discussed and allowed discussion of sex to permeate the workplace.

AMICUS BRIEFS 

San Leandro Teachers Ass'n v. Governing Bd. of San Leandro Unified School Dist. - Prepared amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Association of California School Administrators, the School Employers Association of California, and the California School Boards Association in the California Supreme Court case of San Leandro Teachers Ass'n v. Governing Bd. of San Leandro Unified School Dist. (2009) 46 Cal.4th 822. In that case, the Court held that teacher mailboxes at the district's schools constituted "equipment" under California Education Code section 7054, which prohibits the use of school district funds, services, supplies or equipment to support or oppose political candidates or ballot measures. The Court held that the school district could properly prohibit teacher unions from distributing political materials in the teacher mailboxes. The Court rejected arguments by the appellant teacher unions based on federal and state constitutional free speech principles, statutory construction of section 7054, and unions' limited statutory right of access to the school premises.

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles

California State Bar, Labor & Employment Law Section

Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), Labor & Employment Law Section

American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles

Dec 4, 2015

Factfinding Under AB 646: Impacts and Lessons Learned

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Jul 8, 2015

Release Time

In these monthly videos, members of LCW’s Labor Relations and Negotiations Services practice group will provide various tips that can be implemented at your bargaining tables. 

Aug 6, 2014

Alternative Approaches to Bargaining

In these monthly videos, members of LCW’s Labor Relations and Negotiations Services practice group will provide various tips that can be implemented at your bargaining tables. 

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles

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