Labor Relations: The Meet and Confer Process

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The purpose of this workbook is to assist local agency officials and representatives to effectively administer the meet and confer process

The Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA)—the California law that mandates that process for cities, counties and special districts—refers to it as "meeting and conferring in good faith." However, in light of the manner in which the courts have interpreted the MMBA, the traditional private sector terms "negotiating" and "collective bargaining" more aptly describe the process. Thus, this workbook uses these terms interchangeably.

Since its passage in 1968, labor disputes, strikes and litigation related to labor relations under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act have been relatively infrequent. Periodically, however, public employee unions and their allies have sought to modify the law to create a labor relations environment more closely resembling their goals and objectives. Those efforts resulted in an amendment to the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, effective 2001. This amendment extends the jurisdiction of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to cities, counties and other local government agencies. This workbook will discuss PERB jurisdiction and its impact on local government labor relations.

There is a wide divergence among California local agencies in the degree to which some continue to operate primarily along traditional civil service lines, and the extent to which others have changed to the private sector labor-management relations model. While the private sector model increasingly represents the norm, because of this divergence some workbook material may seem elementary to the reader who is an experienced labor negotiator and at the same time not sufficiently clear to the reader who is new to labor negotiations. It is hoped, however, that the workbook as a whole will serve readers as a helpful guide as they are involved in their agency's approach to the collective bargaining process.

Topics Include:

  • Legal Framework for Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector
    • The Legal Framework for Public Agency Managers and Negotiators
    • Local Rules
  • Subjects of Bargaining
    • The Contract and Past Practice
    • Scope of Representation
  • The Negotiation Process
    • Preparation for Negotiations
    • Negotiation Process
    • Agreement and Impasse

This document is provided as a benefit to Liebert Library subscribers and cannot be shared outside of their organization. The information contained within is a template only and is not designed to address the specific and unique issues, internal rules, practices, and/or governing documents that might be in place at your organization. You should always consult with legal counsel prior to implementation of any documents.

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