California Professional Firefighters

Brown Budget Boosts PERB Funding to Address Case Backlog

Gov. Jerry Brown this week moved to bolster efforts to protect collective bargaining rights for more than two million California public workers.

In a vote of confidence for public employee bargaining rights, the governor proposed an 8 percent hike in funding for the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) as part of his new 2016-2017 state budget. Created in 1977, PERB is a quasi-judicial agency that oversees public-sector collective bargaining in California.

In its primary role, PERB acts as an administrative court for resolving labor relations disputes between public employees and employers. Since 2001, the number of public workers under its purview has nearly doubled, resulting in a backlog in caseload that has slowed the pace of litigation.

The governor’s proposed budget provides an additional $885,000 in funding and an additional five positions, largely in the office of the general counsel, to ease this backlog and ensure that PERB can meet its statutory timelines. The total budget for PERB is $10.3 million.

For California’s firefighters, PERB has provided an important and effective means of resolving issues that arise between public employees and their employers. If a PERB ruling is appealed, PERB itself takes on the expense of further litigation, since it becomes the "defendant" in the case.

Over the past several years, PERB been a source for balanced and sensible decisions protecting the bargaining rights of CPF members:

  • San Diego: Just last month, PERB ruled that the City of San Diego violated state labor law and the collective bargaining rights of employees by taking a proposed pension overhaul (Proposition B) directly to voters rather than first negotiating with employee unions. (CLICK HERE TO READ THE DECISION)
  • San Jose: PERB finds that the City of San Jose failed to meet its legal obligation to meet and confer in good faith and exhaust all impasse procedures prior to placing a proposed pension overhaul (Measure B) on the ballot.
  • Menlo Park: PERB rules Menlo Park Fire Protection District engaged in regressive bargaining and violated its duty to meet and confer in good faith, resulting the award of back pay for lost wages and benefits.
  • Sacramento: PERB rules that the County of Sacramento committed an unfair practice when it implemented a blanket "No Union Logo" policy that prohibited firefighters from wearing clothing with union insignia while on duty.
  • San Luis Obispo: PERB finds that the City of San Luis Obispo violated MMBA by failing to meet and consult with the SLO Peace Officers Association prior to sponsoring a local ballot measure to repeal binding arbitration.
  • Pinole: PERB orders the reopening of a Pinole Valley fire station, with more than two years back pay for lost firefighter wages and benefits.

The governor’s $171 billion budget now heads for review by the Legislature. The deadline for signing it into law is July 1.

If you have any questions about the governor’s proposal or PERB, please feel free to contact CPF’s Legislative Department –