San Diego
Municipal Employees Association

California Public Employment Relations Board Agrees with MEA’s Unfair Labor Charge Against the City Regarding the CPR Ballot Initiative!

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Late Friday, the State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a ruling (attached) supporting MEA’s unfair labor practice charge against the City of San Diego related to the Comprehensive Pension Reform (“CPR”) ballot initiative currently slated for the June ballot. (You can read the original complaint filed by MEA here.)

In its ruling, PERB agreed with MEA’s allegation that this so-called “citizen’s” initiative is really a City-sponsored initiative based on the significant involvement of Mayor Sanders. PERB ruled that the City “through its agents, including chief labor negotiator San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, has co-authored, developed, sponsored, promoted, funded, and implemented” the CPR initiative. Because State law requires the City to initiate meet and confer negotiations with MEA before City-sponsored initiatives are placed on the ballot, PERB found that the City committed an unfair labor practice when it denied MEA’s repeated demands to negotiate. PERB determined that the City “failed and refused to meet and confer in good faith with (MEA)…and committed an unfair labor practice under Government Code 3509(b).” PERB also found that the City violated State law related to good faith bargaining and that its “conduct interfered with the rights of bargaining unit employees to be represented by (MEA).”

Accordingly, PERB granted MEA’s request to initiate litigation in order to stop CPR from appearing on the June ballot: “By direction of the (PERB) Board, the request for injunctive relief in the above-entitled matter is GRANTED. By further direction of the Board, the General Counsel shall: (1) immediately initiate an action for appropriate injunctive and writ relief in San Diego Superior Court; and (2) expedite administrative proceedings on Unfair Practice Charge No. LA-CE-746-M.”

The bottom line is that while PERB has agreed that the City violated the law on the CPR initiative, only a Superior Court judge can actually stop the initiative from moving forward to the voters in June. But now that PERB—the quasi-judicial State agency responsible for enforcing the law related to bargaining and public employees—has agreed to our request to file litigation, the argument has become even more powerful. PERB will file their litigation this week.

PERB also ruled that the administrative process related to our unfair labor practice charge should be expedited. This means that even if the Court does not grant PERB’s request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to stop CPR, there may still be time to reach a final ruling on the merits of our complaint before CPR could make it to the ballot.

The bottom line is that, of course, this is a VERY powerful and exciting development, but this is not the end of the battle to stop the CPR ballot initiative fraud. The good news is that since this legal battle is happening in the context of election deadlines, the process (and the appeals process) will be expedited, and resolution on the matter should come sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, as always, we will keep you informed of any developments. If you have any questions or need additional information, don’t hesitate to contact MEA at 619-264-6632. Go PERB!