BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  SB 25
                                                                  Page  1

          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 25 (Steinberg)
          As Amended  August 21, 2014
          Majority vote

           SENATE VOTE  :23-10    
           
           LABOR & EMPLOYMENT          4-2 JUDICIARY             6-3       
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Roger HernŠndez, Chau,    |Ayes:|Wieckowski, Chau,         |
          |     |Gomez, Holden             |     |Dickinson, Garcia,        |
          |     |                          |     |Muratsuchi, Stone         |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Morrell, Gorell           |Nays:|Wagner, Gorell,           |
          |     |                          |     |Maienschein               |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           SUMMARY  :  Makes various changes to the mandatory mediation  
          procedures of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA).   
          Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Provides that an agricultural employer or labor organization  
            may file an order to enforce a mandatory mediation order from  
            the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) even if a party  
            seeks appellate review of the decision.

          2)Requires the parties to implement the terms of the ALRB's  
            order while a petition for a writ of review is pending.

          3)Provides that a court may only issue a stay of an ALRB order  
            unless it finds and states in its initial findings that:

             a)   The appellant has demonstrated by clear and convincing  
               evidence that he or she will be irreparably harmed by  
               implementation of the order; and

             b)   The appellant has demonstrated by clear and convincing  
               evidence a likelihood of success on appeal.

          4)Provides that a court granting a stay of an ALRB order shall  
            provide written findings and analysis supporting the decision.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel. 









                                                                  SB 25
                                                                  Page  2

           COMMENTS  :  This bill, sponsored by the United Farm Workers  
          (UFW), proposes to make a series of changes to the mandatory  
          mediation process that was added to the ALRA in 2002.  The  
          mandatory mediation process was enacted by two bills, SB 1156  
          (Burton), Chapter 1145, Statutes of 2002, and AB 2596 (Wesson),  
          Chapter 1146, Statutes of 2002.  While the provisions of the  
          mediation process have undergone some changes, the mediation  
          process provided under existing law remains largely unchanged.  

          This bill seeks to address the length of time for the mediation  
          to become binding.  While the process between the mediator and  
          the ALRB is straightforward, a court can stay the mediation  
          indefinitely without explaining the reasoning or without an  
          evidentiary process that establishes that a party would suffer  
          irreparable harm.  Additionally, parties are not required to  
          follow the terms of the mediation while the appeal is pending.   
          This bill addresses this issue by requiring that the court may  
          only stay a mediator's decision with clear and convincing  
          evidence, and that the court must provide written findings  
          explaining their reasons for staying the mediator's decision.   
          Additionally, this bill requires the parties to follow the  
          mediation decision while the appeal is pending.

          The UFW states the following in support of this measure:

               ?[This bill] also addresses an enforcement loophole in  
               the 2002 law that has been identified by the ALRB.  In  
               some specific cases, the ALRB is unable to enforce a  
               mediator's decision or to implement new wages.  This  
               past summer, a mediator imposed a first contract at  
               Ace Tomato - a farm where farm workers first voted for  
               the union in 1989.  This first contract gave workers  
               wage increases, workplace protections, and the ability  
               to resolve disputes through grievance and arbitration  
               procedures.  Yet, even after two decades of legal  
               maneuvers by Ace, when workers requested that the ALRB  
               enforce the contract that Ace was refusing to  
               implement, the ALRB concluded that it does not have  
               the power to enforce the contract. As the ALRB wrote:

                    '?there is no legal mechanism through which the  
                    Board can seek to enforce its decision at this  
                    time.  A statutory amendment is needed to afford  
                    that authority to the Board where, as here, it is  
                    warranted.'








                                                                  SB 25
                                                                  Page  3


          Opponents contend that significant amendments to the ALRA are  
          not warranted.  They argue that this bill would present  
          significant challenges and increase pressure on agricultural  
          employers in California.


          Analysis Prepared by  :    Ben Ebbink / L. & E. / (916) 319-2091 


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