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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

City of L.A. v. Superior Court: Supreme Court To Hear Oral Argument In Action To Compel Arbitration Of City's Furlough Plan

Thank you to Erich Shiners of Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP,  my colleague on the State Bar Labor and Employment Law Executive Committee, for pointing out that the California Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument in City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Engineers & Architects Association) (Case No. S192828). 

In the decision below, the Court of Appeal overturned a trial court order compelling the City to arbitrate grievances filed by City employees and their union over the City's plan to furlough those employees. The Court held: 
While there are questions as to whether the issue of furloughs is grievable under the terms of the controlling Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), we conclude that any agreement to arbitrate the issue of furloughs would constitute an improper delegation of discretionary policymaking power vested in the City Council. 
The Supreme Court granted the union's petition for review. After initial briefing, the Court requested briefing on the following issue: 
Do the memorandums of understanding at issue here, including but not limited to their management rights clauses (article 1.9), render the decision whether to impose employee furloughs inarbitrable? 
The Court's case summary page is here.   You can request email notification of developments here.  

Argument will be Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 9:00 a.m., at the Ronald Reagan State Office Building, 300 South Spring Street, Third Floor, North Tower, Los Angeles. This is the same session at which the Court will hear argument in
Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, which considers whether an employer can compel its employees to waive their right to bring claims to the Labor Commissioner.  Should be a very interesting morning.  

I have added City of L.A. to our Watch List of Pending Cases.  Erich has agreed very generously to shepherd our Watch List webinar, which we will present within a week or two of the Court announcing its decision.

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