Employee Relations Services – Human Resources Division

 Date:  November 2000                                                        No. 3


"I’ve read that unions can now take complaints to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) instead of going to court.  How will this affect the County?”

Governor Davis recently signed SB 739 into law, transferring administration of the Myers- Milias-Brown Act (MMB) to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).  PERB jurisdiction will not include peace officers or management employees.  The impact of PERB on public sector employee relations will be felt in several areas.

1.      Unfair labor practice charges -  The Meyers-Milias-Brown Act is the state law that regulates employee relations in the public sector.  Presently, if a union or employer believes that “other side” has violated MMB it would go to the courts for relief.  Under SB 739, PERB would have the responsibility to investigate and determine the validity of “unfair labor practice” charges.  Representation disputes would also be handled by PERB.

2.    Agency Shop Agreement -  An agency shop agreement between a union and public employer requires employees in a bargaining unit to pay union dues or a representation fee to the union.  Currently, this agreement must be negotiated.  Under SB 739, a union can unilaterally elect to have an agency shop and the public employer is obligated to accept it.  Currently, agency shop agreements must be renegotiated at the end of a MOU or every three years, but under SB 739 agency shop will be in effect as long as the employee organization is recognized.

It is expected that the initial impact of SB 739 will be a dramatic increase in the number of unfair labor practice charges filed because going to court is expensive while filing with PERB is “free.”  We can also expect to see many more agency shop arrangements, which will strengthen unions.   Certainly, we will have a better understanding of the impact of SB 739 after living with it a few years.

The agency shop provisions of SB 739 will go into effect January 1, 2001, and the unfair labor practice portion will become effective July 1, 2001.

Employee Relations Bulletins are intended to provide an overview of subjects of interest.  For more detailed information contact Employee Relations.