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California PERB Draws Distinction Between Employee and Union In Grievance Context
When a public school employee pursues a grievance, the matter is controlled by the governing collective bargaining agreement, and not by the California Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA). In a recent decision, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruled that it had no jurisdiction to interfere in a grievance where the employee contended the local school district did not follow the established time lines and withheld information curing the grievance process; in addition the employee complained that his union violated his rights be failing to take the grievance to arbitration.</p><!--break--><p>The PERB confirmed that it has no jurisdiction to interfere in the grievance process unless conduct amounts to an unfair labor practice. The PERB also rejected the employee’s contention that the district’s actions prevented his receipt of a reasonable settlement offer. The PERB rejected that claim noting that nothing in the EERA entitles an employee to receipt of a reasonable settlement offer. As to the contention that the union violated the employee’s rights by not pursuing the grievance to arbitration, the PERB ruled that the issue is between the employee and the union and that the PERB has no role to play, for nothing in the EERA entitles an employee to have his grievance proceed to arbitration. Going to arbitration is a sensitive decision, controlled by provisions of the collective bargaining agreement, and left to the union leadership which is afforded wide discretion in determining which cases to pursue. The case is <a href="/sites/default/files/Weightman_Grievance_Decision_PERB_2073.pdf">Weightman v. Los Angeles Unified School District</a>, PERB Decision No. 2073 (October 28, 2009). A copy of the decision is attached.