Court confirms arbitrator had authority to rule that reduction of school district’s work year violated Union contract

In Anaheim Union High School District v. AFSCME, Local 3112, an arbitrator determined that the School District violated its contract with the Union by reducing classified employees’ work year without the Union’s agreement. 

The District unsuccessfully challenged the validity of the award in court, on the grounds that it had the right to lay off employees under the Education Code.  The Court of Appeal rejected this argument, finding that the District’s ability to lay off employees did not encompass a right to reduce the work year without complying with the contract and without the Union’s agreement. 

This decision confirms that even where an employer has a right to lay off employees for lack of work or lack of funds, that right cannot be extended to give the employer discretion to choose other cost-saving measures unilaterally.

By Anne Yen | January 14, 2014

Legal Developments