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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Can an employer such as the County of Orange force an

Customer Question

Can an employer such as the County of Orange force an employee's association to accept it's demands during contract negotiotions. The county is proposing that employee's take a pay cut, elimination of seniority when it comes to layoffs, and elimination of binding arbitration. Can the county force the employee's association and employees to accept their demands? What happens if the county and employee's association can't come to an agreement? Does this go to court? Do the lawyers fight it out?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

This is a complex issue but the short answer is that a county cannot simply force an employee's association to accept its demands--at least not without jumping through some considerable hoops.

The way this works in a nutshell is that if the county can prove it has attempted to negotiate in good faith, it can apply to the Public Employment Relations Board for a declaration of "impasse."

Once the county files a petition for the declaration of impasse with the PERB, PERB has five days to make a determination. If PERB denies that a true impasse exists, the parties must resume negotiations. However, if PERB declares an impasse then the dispute goes to mediation and the parties have 2 weeks to work with the mediator to resolve the dispute.

If no settlement is reached in mediation, the parties move to fact-finding. A fact-finding panel is assembled with a union rep, a county rep, and a neutral third party. The fact-finding panel hears testimony and accepts evidence concerning the parties' respective positions. This procedure can take as long as 30 days. If the fact finding panel cannot facilitate an agreement, the county then has the right to impose its "last, best and final" offer.

I sincerely ***** ***** this information helps you and I wish you the best.

My absolute greatest concern is that you are satisfied with the answer I provide, so please do not hesitate to contact me with follow-up questions. Also, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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