Governor Signs Bill Making Timelines in the New Employee Orientation Law Less Onerous

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation (SB 112) that clarified the public sector New Employer Orientation (“NEO”) law.  The change makes timelines for requesting compulsory interest arbitration less onerous.  The changes were part of budget bill, making them effective immediately.

The previous language in the NEO law (AB 119) required that a party requesting compulsory interest arbitration had to do so “no later than 14 days prior to the end of the negotiation period,” as defined by the statute.  The clarifications to the NEO law allow for either party to request compulsory arbitration within 45 days of the parties’ first meeting, or within 60 days after the initial request to negotiate over NEO, whichever comes first, and for the process to select an arbitrator to begin “within 14 days of either party’s demand for compulsory interest arbitration.”

In other words, there is no hard and fast deadline for a party to request to go to arbitration.  The changes to the NEO law allow parties to negotiate without worrying that they will blow a deadline that would prohibit them from pursuing compulsory interest arbitration.

However, once a party requests to go to arbitration, that party does have a 14 day deadline to initiate the process of selecting an interest arbitrator.  The party demanding compulsory interest arbitration is responsible for requesting a panel of arbitrators from the State Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The NEO law still allows the parties to alter the timelines for requesting compulsory arbitration by mutual agreement (e.g., the parties can agree to request arbitration before the statute allows, the parties can agree to begin the arbitration selection process later than 14 days, etc.)

In addition, the changes to the NEO law also make a typographical correction, requiring that the arbitration be completed “within 30 days” from when the arbitration begins.  The parties must submit all evidence and briefs within 30 days of the opening of the interest arbitration hearing.  The NEO law still requires the arbitrator to submit his or her final and binding decision within 10 days of the close of the arbitration.

If you are a Union representative and would like a copy of Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld’s updated PowerPoint presentation, please send an email to: laborlawupdates@unioncounsel.net and indicate your Union affiliation.  We will continue to update you on any changes to the NEO law and other laws affecting the public sector.

By Anthony Tucci | October 4, 2017

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