Department of Personnel Administration v. Superior Court

5 Cal. App. 4th 155, 6 Cal. Rptr. 2d 714 (1992)

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Department of Personnel Administration v. Superior Court

California Court of Appeal
5 Cal. App. 4th 155, 6 Cal. Rptr. 2d 714 (1992)

Facts

Due to an unprecedented budgetary crisis for the state’s fiscal year 1991-1992, the governor reduced the funds for employee compensation and benefit increases. Against that backdrop, the Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) (defendant) continued bargaining negotiations with various unions representing state employees (the unions) (plaintiffs). By autumn 1991, the DPA and many unions had reached an impasse. On November 5, 1991, the DPA sent letters to two of the unions informing them that due to the impasse, the DPA intended to implement its last best offer to reduce salaries and health-benefit contribution rates effective November 12, 1991. On November 8, 1991, the unions responded by filing a petition in the superior court for a writ of mandate for a stay. The court issued an alternative writ and stay ordering the DPA not to reduce the salaries of health-benefit contribution rates for state-employee members of the unions. The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the state agency to which the unions should have first pursued their state administrative remedies, filed a statement of jurisdiction with the court contending that it lacked exclusive and initial jurisdiction over the dispute between the DPA and the unions. The court ultimately issued a judgment granting a peremptory writ of mandate commanding the DPA to refrain from reducing the wages and health-benefit contribution for the state-employee members of the unions. The DPA appealed and argued that the PERB had exclusive jurisdiction to decide whether DPA had authority to implement its last best offer after the impasse because that issue required analysis and application of the applicable labor-relations statute, and that analysis should first be undertaken by the PERB.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Puglia, J.)

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