Public Sector Case Notes

Publication year2017
AuthorBy Kerianne Steele & Jannah Manansala
Public Sector Case Notes

By Kerianne Steele & Jannah Manansala

Kerianne Steele is a shareholder at Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld in Alameda. She provides general representation to labor unions, primarily in the public sector. Jannah Manansala is also a shareholder of the firm. She represents labor unions and workers in both the public and private sector in state and federal court, in arbitration and in administrative hearings. In addition to practicing law, she has taught Labor Policy and Law at Cal State University East Bay.

City Must Consult With Unions Before Placing Binding Interest Arbitration Repeal on the Ballot

City of Palo Alto v. PERB (Int'l Ass'n of Firefighters), 5 Cal. App. 5th 1271 (2016)

Prior to 2011, the City of Palo Alto's Charter required binding interest arbitration when the City failed to reach agreement on a labor contract with its police or firefighters unions. In 2011, the City placed a measure on the ballot to repeal that Charter provision, and the voters approved the measure by a wide margin.

The firefighters' union filed an unfair practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), alleging that the City had failed to consult in good faith with the union before placing the Charter provision on the ballot. PERB decided in favor of the union, reversing its Chief Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ's) proposed decision, and ordered the City to rescind the resolution that referred the measure to the voters.

The City filed a petition for a writ of extraordinary relief, asking the court of appeal to annul PERB's decision. The court granted the writ and annulled the PERB decision. The court approved PERB's reasoning on the issue of the City's failure to consult in good faith. However, the court held that PERB, as a "quasi-judicial agency," had violated the constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers by attempting to compel the City to take a legislative action. The court stated that PERB did have the power to declare the City's resolution to be void. Consequently, the court remanded the matter back to PERB to determine whether to declare the resolution void because of the manner in which it was adopted.

The City has filed a petition for review in the California Supreme Court, case number S239282.

Public Employees Do Not Have a Vested Contractual Right to Purchase Nonqualifying Service Credit ("Airtime") from CalPERS

Cal Fire Local 2881 v. California Public...

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