Pacific Grove Contracting Out Dispute Leads to an Agreement
Posted On: Mar 17, 2014
Contracting out public employee services is a topic we have to deal with far too often and the small, historic, tourist destination town of Pacific Grove is no exception in efforts to cut employees and use outside employers. Side note, Pacific Grove is also at the forefront of pension reform efforts.
The Union and the Pacific Grove General Employees Association (PGGEA) recently concluded a 6 month contracting out dispute with the City that resulted in a side letter setting and limiting the terms of contracting out General Unit work.
Contracting out existing bargaining unit work is a mandatory topic of negotiations and per relatively recent decisions by PERB is subject to all the procedural requirements of negotiations including if appropriate impasse procedures up to fact finding. This is important, as many management negotiators believe they only need to negotiate the "impact" of contracting our rather than the actual "decision" to contract out services. UPEC found it necessary during the barganing process to file an Unfair Practice Charge (UPC) with PERB to protect the Union's right to participate in the entire bargaining process.
Somewhat to its credit, after a slow and rocky start, the City engaged in substantive negotiations and although we were not able to prevent contracting out we were able to negotiate an agreement that limited the loss of full time positions, provided bumping and reinstatement rights above and beyond existing rights in the layoff rules and provided severance options including the PERS 2 year service credit "golden handshake" which despite pension reform is still on the books to consider in a reduction in force situation. So far although this is still playing out no regular full time employee in the Union-represented bargaining unit has been laid off. PGGEA President John Goss deserves special credit for staying on top of this issue, attending City Council meetings, speaking at Council meetings, mounting a grass roots citizen's effort and providing the information and impetus for filing the UPC.
A copy of the demand letter for "full" negotiations is attached along with the final side letter agreement that was ratified by the Uniuon membership and the City Council.