Employee Relations 06/15/2012
California Public Employment Relations Board Approves Factfinding Regulations
At its June 14, 2012 meeting, the California Public Employment
Relations Board (PERB) moved forward to replace the existing
emergency regulations governing the facfinding process with
identical permanent regulations.
There was some discussion about the 45 day deadline for requesting factfinding that exists in the regulations after a labor-side attorney suggested there was not sufficient time to allow mediation or other negotiation to occur prior to the deadline. PERB staff indicated that some unions have requested, and PERB has approved, holding the request for factfinding in abeyance while local efforts to resolve the dispute continue. The union must only submit its request within the timeframe, not complete the procedure. CSAC communicated to PERB that the deadline to request factfinding was critical to employers and that we supported the regulations as proposed.
Anita Martinez, PERB Chair, also announced that PERB will hold an Advisory Committee meeting on June 28, 2012 at its Sacramento office to discuss:
- The transfer of the State Mediation and Conciliation Service to PERB and,
- A package of new regulations.
The regulations are not yet available for review, but PERB asks that anyone interested attend the meeting. CSAC will provide information about the proposed regulations once they are released.
CalPERS Approves 2013 Health Benefits Rate Package
Citing the cause as continuously increasing healthcare costs, the
California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of
Administration (Board) on Wednesday approved a 2013 health
benefits rate package that will raise overall premiums for
members by an average of 9.6 percent. The increase will mean an
average of an additional thirty dollars per month per member.
The package includes an average 8.5 percent coverage increase (nine percent for Kaiser, 8.7 percent for Blue Shield Access+ and 7.9 percent for Blue Shield NetValue) for Basic Health Maintenance Organizations (non-Medicare HMOs) and an average 10.8 percent increase (16.2 percent for PERS Choice, 5.3 percent for PERSCare and no increase for PERS Select) for Basic Preferred Provider Organizations (non-Medicare PPOs). Medicare plans will experience a 10.5 percent overall decrease, as the new health plan design changes include the conversion of Supplement to Medicare plans from the Medicare Part Dee Retiree Drug Subsidy program to the Employer Group Waiver Plans.
A major factor of the increase is the end of the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) reimbursements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. ERRP offered financial assistance to health plan sponsors that provide early retirees (those aged 55-64 years and therefore ineligible for Medicare) and their families with health coverage. Administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), ERRP was appropriated with $5 billion in funding, which must be used by health plan sponsors to lower plan participants’ costs, reduce plan sponsors’ cost of providing coverage, or both. Applicants for funding receive reinsurance of high-cost claims for retirees and their families. CalPERS utilized $200 million in ERRP funds in previous years to offset premium increases.
The new rates and benefit provisions will take effect on January 1, 2013.
AB 1831 (Dickinson) – Oppose
As Amended on June 11, 2012
Assembly Bill 1831, by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson, would prohibit local agencies from inquiring into the criminal history of an applicant on any initial employment application (unless the position is one for which a criminal history background check is already required by law). Local agencies would, however, retain the ability to consider the applicant’s criminal history once the agency has determined he or she meets the minimum employment requirements.
AB 1831 is part of the “Ban the Box” movement in which states, cities and counties across the country have ended inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history on the initial job application in an effort to reduce ruling out the criminally convicted population. The language in AB 1831 also references the Criminal Justice Realignment Act (AB 109) and its focus on reducing recidivism and promoting rehabilitation of offenders and their re-entry into the workforce.
AB 1831 was recently amended to exempt law enforcement positions. CSAC joins the California District Attorneys Association, the California State Sheriffs Association, the Chief Probation Officers of California, the Rural Counties Representatives of California and the League of California Cities in opposition.
AB 1831 will be heard on June 20 in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.
AB 2543 (Alejo) – Oppose
As Amended on June 11, 2012
AB 2543, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, would prohibit a public agency from taking punitive action against a public safety officer, or denying a promotion on grounds other than merit because the officer’s name is placed on a Brady list or the officer’s name is subject to disclosure pursuant to Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83. AB 2543 would place unnecessary restrictions on a public agency’s ability to discipline a public safety officer for the underlying action that resulted in that officer being placed on the Brady list because the employer will be required to prove that the punitive action is not related to the existence of the Brady list. Amendments to AB 2543 further require the public agency, in order to raise the issue in an administrative appeal, to prove the underlying act or omission for which the officer’s name was placed on a Brady list and that, as a result, the officer is found to be subject to punitive action.
CSAC believes that public agency employers need the authority to appropriately discipline their workforce in order to maintain trust and confidence from the community they serve. AB 2543 simply adds another administrative process public employers must go through to effectively manage their employees without citing any evidence that public safety officers are not sufficiently protected by the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act.
AB 2543 will be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 26.