The California Public Employers Labor Relations Association (CALPELRA) is a professional, nonprofit California association established in 1975. It is comprised of public sector management representatives responsible for carrying out the labor relations and human resources programs for their jurisdictions. CALPELRA held its Annual Training Conference December 3 – 7 in Monterey. Renne Public Law Group (RPLG) presented five sessions during the week with the goal of assisting California public sector employers better serve their communities.

Best Practices To Prepare for Labor ArbitrationPartners Arthur Hartinger and Jon Holtzman kicked off the first presentation Wednesday morning, providing insights on “Best Practices To Prepare for Labor Arbitration.” Hartinger and Holtzman took attendees through an advanced checklist of how to ensure a successful outcome, including tips on developing the case as well as universal issues of arbitrability. The Six P’s – Proper, Prior, Preparation, Prevents, Poor, Performance – are used when creating compelling factual and legal arguments.

Later in the afternoon, Hartinger and Senior Associate Spencer Wilson presented a session titled “Wage And Hour Pitfalls: Targeted Issues Under The Fair Labor Standards Act.” The presentation focused on the complex interplay between public sector bargaining and the FLSA. Hartinger and Wilson also provided a checklist for a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and MOU audit, then led a discussion about related FLSA issues, including real-world examples from Flores v. City of San Gabriel. In Flores, the firm was hired … Attendees learned about the viability of cash-in-lieu-of-benefit programs, regular rate issues, implementation of 7(k) work periods for public safety employees and more.

Is This The Year The California Supreme Court Revisits The ‘California Rule’?Of Counsel Linda Ross spoke about vested rights during the third session. Ross, along with Ashley Dunning of Nossaman LLP and Timothy Talbot of Rains, Lucia, Stern, St. Phalle & Silver, explored three vested rights cases currently pending before the California Supreme Court. This discussion allowed Ross, Dunning and Talbot to answer the question “Is This The Year The California Supreme Court Revisits The ‘California Rule’?” A day after the conference, The Supreme Court heard arguments in the Cal Fire case.The panel discussed the theory of vested pension rights and the limits of the vested rights doctrine and concluded with issues raised by recent case law. Ross addressed possible next steps for public agencies, especially at the bargaining table.

The Economics of Labor NegotiationsIn the fourth session, Hartinger and Holtzman teamed up again, this time with Michael Nadol of PFM Group Consulting to cover “The Economics of Labor Negotiations.” The team presented “Top Ten: Numbers to Know in Bargaining.These numbers include the CalPERS rate/trend, the cost of doing nothing, Projected 5-year surplus (or deficit) and 114 (months since the last recession) The team did a deep dive on how to more effectively present numbers in bargaining and fact-finding.

How To Win While Settling During Fact-findingRounding out the conference, Holtzman presented “How To Win While Settling During Fact-finding” alongside Norman Brand (Arbitrator & Mediator Office of Norman Brand) and David A. Weinberg (Arbitrator, Mediator, Factfinder & Conflict Resolution). Because management and labor often have varying opinions and rely on different facts, the fact-finding process is an undervalued opportunity to hash out thorny problems. The panel led attendees through best practices and tips on how to best use fact-finding to reach a settlement criteria on agency’s means using fact-finding as a tool.

“The conference provides a unique opportunity for CALPELRA members from large and small jurisdictions to come together and exchange information and perspectives,” stated Hartinger. “As a partner to the California public sector, RPLG was excited to provide comprehensive, quality training in five relevant topics at this very high quality conference as we are honored to do so among such esteemed peers.

RPLG practices throughout California, advising and advocating for public agencies, nonprofit entities, individuals and private entities in need of effective, responsive and creative legal solutions.