Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PERB: Sheriff's Department Violated Correctional POA's Rights

In a recent decision, the Public Employment Relations Board found the County of Santa Clara violated the MMBA when it banned the union president from trading shifts with other employees.  Like many employers in public safety, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department allows employees to trade shifts to get special days off.  The Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers Association president made use of the day trades in part to connect with members working different shifts.  Then, the Department banned the union president from doing so ostensibly because he did not repay a day.  But the Department's reasoning fell apart under scrutiny and the Board held the Department's conduct constituted unlawful interference. 

The Board also disapproved of prior decisions that said interference with a union's rights did not necessarily follow from discrimination against a labor leader.  The Board found prior cases, including, Novato Unified School District, are "contrary to the overwhelming weight of PERB case law on this issue."  Therefore, the Board found the Department's retaliatory conduct also violated the union's rights.

Mastagni Holstedt Senior Associate Jeffrey R. A. Edwards represented the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers Association in the matter.