In Rare Move, PERB Issues Written Decision Explaining Why It Sought Injunction Against Employer

This past May, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) authorized its General Counsel to seek an injunction against the City of Fremont.  The Alameda Superior Court granted a temporary restraining order and then a preliminary injunction.  Last week, PERB issued a decision explaining why it previously sought the injunction.

In City of Fremont (2013) PERB Order No. IR-57-M, the City claimed that the Union was a mere affiliate of an association, and that the employees had voted to disaffiliate from the Union.  The City, among other things, thereafter refused to bargain with the Union, stopped transferring dues money to the Union, and violated its duty to remain neutral in the representational dispute.  The Union requested that PERB seek an injunction against the City pending a hearing before PERB.  In approving the request, PERB found reasonable cause to believe that the City had violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) by engaging in the acts described above.  PERB then concluded that it was “just and proper” to direct its General Counsel to seek an injunction against the City to prevent it from continuing to violate the law until such time as PERB could hold a hearing regarding the dispute.  Failure to seek an injunction, PERB concluded, would have rendered the PERB hearing process “meaningless” because it would have effectively denied City workers the representation of their Union.

This was the second time since 2001 that PERB issued a written decision explaining why it had authorized its General Counsel to seek injunctive relief against an employer. The PERB Board apparently found this case to be compelling because the City’s actions entirely undermined the Union’s right to represent its members.  The PERB Board issued its written decision regarding the injunction after an Administrative Law Judge issued a proposed decision in the City’s favor.  This shows the PERB Board’s willingness to think and act independently of its Administrative Law Judges.

By Jake White | November 4, 2013

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