PERB Finds City of Selma Engaged in Surface Bargaining

The California Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) recently found in Selma Firefighters Association, IAFF, Local 3716 v. City of Selma, PERB Decision No. 2380-M (2014), that the City of Selma unlawfully engaged in surface bargaining, prematurely declared impasse, and unlawfully implemented its Last Best and Final Offer (“LBFO”). 

In City of Selma, the parties only met twice before the City made its LBFO. The City did not make a proposal until the second meeting.  The Union requested information to understand that proposal.  Claiming economic urgency to adopt a budget, two weeks later the City called an “emergency” meeting where it made its LBFO that increased employees’ contributions to CalPERS to 8% and rescinded furloughs.   The Union then responded with a counteroffer on a future conditional wage increase, but the City declared impasse and implemented its LBFO before the parties could bargain further.

Given all of the circumstances, PERB found that the City had bargained in bad faith.  It further found that the City’s adoption of a budget did not allow it to circumvent the collective-bargaining process.  To remedy the violations, PERB rescinded the LBFO, restoring the status quo with a make-whole remedy for affected employees.  However, as to the make-whole remedy, it is allowing the parties to negotiate a mutually acceptable remedy so that the parties can deal with potential tax ramifications. 

For more information about this case or a public employer’s obligation to bargain in good faith, please contact your labor law counsel.

By Anthony Tucci | October 29, 2014

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