Meeting Date: September 25, 2006
Board Members Present: Shelley Smith (President), Bob Cramer (Vice-President), Michael Duran (Vice-President), Jule Bishop (Treasurer), Judith Reel (Secretary), Garcelle Embry (Civil Director)
SEIU Local 347 Representative Present: Bob Hunt (General Counsel)
I. Old Business
A. Settlement of Unfair Labor Practices Charge
As discussed in the previous minutes, the Board filed an Unfair Labor Practices Charge with the City’ s Employee Relations Board against management arising out of the forced transfers of five line deputies and selection of supervisors without providing members the opportunity to apply for the positions. At the meeting, the Board considered and unanimously approved a settlement of the Charge.
The settlement agreement primarily affords prospective relief; it identifies limits on management’s right to involuntarily transfer attorneys and establishes a procedure for such transfers that requires negotiation about alternatives. The two pertinent provisions of the agreement state:
"LACAA acknowledges that the Office has a managerial right to assign attorneys to its various operating units. The Office acknowledges that it will not exercise this right for arbitrary, capricious or discriminatory reasons. LACAA and the Office further agree that the principles established in the Horowitz arbitration award (ARB-499) [ruling that a transfer imposed in lieu of discipline was unlawful] may be applicable to any exercise of this right for allegedly disciplinary reasons.
In the event the Office determines that it needs to involuntarily transfer an attorney, it will provide advance notice to the affected attorney and LACAA. Upon request of the attorney or LACAA, the Office agrees to discuss the reasons for the proposed transfer and to engage in a good faith exploration of any reasonable alternatives. Following any such discussion, the Office may implement the transfer or take other alternative action. The participation by LACAA or the affected attorney in such discussions shall not be construed as a waiver of any right to file a grievance or seek other remedies."
The Board considered objections to the settlement by two members, and voted unanimously to approve it. The Board members believe that the settlement establishes meaningful limitations on management’s right to involuntarily transfer attorneys and requires management to negotiate in good faith reasonable alternatives. Further, this agreement will be binding on future administrations and Board members believe that it provides needed stability for members.
B. M.O.U. Negotiations
Bob Hunt reported that Local 347 continues to work with other City unions, including AFSCME, the Firefighters and the Laborers, in an effort to coordinate a negotiating strategy for the Spring M.O.U. negotiations. LACAA has also conducted a series of lunch time meetings to discuss the upcoming talks. There is a growing consensus throughout the City’s workforce that the negotiations present an opportunity to achieve significant economic gains. Local 347 is working to ensure that there are sufficient resources to conduct a successful negotiation campaign. The LACAA Board fully supports the efforts to build a strong coalition among all of the City’ s unions including providing any necessary financial assistance. The Board voted to contact other unions and urge the retention of an actuarial expert to assist in preparing a proposal for retirement and salary enhancements during the negotiations. The Board will later determine how much to appropriate once it identifies an actuarial and explores contributions from other unions.
C. SEIU Activities
The minutes from the previous Board meeting described a general proposal by the International SEIU to consolidate the SEIU California local unions into large locals, including a plan to consolidate the SEIU locals that represent public employees. The International is conducting a statewide vote of all SEIU members to determine whether to proceed with a consolidation plan. Bob Hunt stated that SEIU has begun a regional planning process with the stated goal of constructing a larger organization that delivers effective representation. He noted that there is still some uncertainty with respect to the transition period between when a plan is approved and when the new locals are formed. The International has assured Local 347 staff that it will preserve Local 347's autonomy and authority to negotiate the 2007 M.O.U. We will continue to keep our members apprised of further developments.
II. New Business:
A. Workplace Conduct
Board members raised with management the issue of civility in the workplace. Both the Board representatives and management agreed that employees should be civil to one another, and that this obligation extends to all employees, including management personnel. If members believe that they are being treated in a disrespectful or unprofessional manner by a supervisor, manager or co-worker, they can raise the issue with management directly or can discuss the matter with a Board member or Bob Hunt. While LACAA recognizes that our work can produce enormous stress, there is simply little excuse for inappropriate workplace behavior.
B. Board Elections
The Board authorized the sending of a notice to all members concerning the nomination and election process for Los Angeles City Attorneys’ Association Board positions. The Board seats currently up for reelection are Vice-President (currently held by Bob Cramer), Treasurer (currently held by Jule Bishop), Civil Director (currently held by Phil Sugar) and Criminal Director (currently held by Terri Siegel). In addition, there is a vacancy in the Proprietary Director position and in one of the three authorized Criminal Director positions.
C. Treasurer’s Report
Board Treasurer Jule Bishop provided an update of the Board’s assets.