This guest post was authored by Connie C. Almond

Gavel and Books.JPGThe Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) recently published proposed regulations to implement AB 646 (Chapter 680, Statutes of 2011), which requires factfinding in bargaining disputes under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA).  PERB is accepting written comments regarding the proposed regulations through June 12, and will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes on June 14.  After considering input from stakeholders, PERB will issue final regulations.

AB 646 imposes mandatory factfinding on request of an employee organization when a bargaining impasse is reached.  The legislation left some questions unanswered, such as whether an employee organization may demand factfinding (and thereby delay a unilateral imposition of terms and conditions of employment by the local agency) in the absence of the parties using mediation.  In December 2011, PERB adopted emergency regulations to address some of these issues. 

The proposed regulations are virtually identical to the emergency regulations.  One of the proposed regulations provides that, if the parties do not agree to mediation, the request for factfinding must be submitted within 30 days following the declaration of impasse.  This proposed regulation is consistent with proposed “clean-up” legislation – AB 1606 – which would clarify that, upon request, an agency is still required to participate in factfinding even if the parties do not agree to a mediation, and would set a 30 day deadline for a union to request factfinding.  Like the emergency regulations, the proposed regulations also offer some details regarding the procedure for requesting a factfinding hearing and selecting a neutral panel member.

Further information can be obtained from the PERB website, and of course, we will keep you posted.  In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact one of our labor relations attorneys at any of our four offices.