Faculty guild responds after courses get canceled

Faculty guild responds after courses get canceled

Faculty guild responds after courses get canceled

The Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA) provides that the scope of representation is restricted to matters relating to wages, hours of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment, including:

  • health and welfare benefits;
  • leave, transfer, and reassignment policies;
  • safety conditions of employment;
  • class size;
  • employee evaluation procedures;
  • organizational security;
  • grievance processing procedures;
  • layoff of probationary certificated school district employees;
  • alternative compensation or benefits for employees adversely affected by pension limitations.

In the case of Los Angeles College Faculty Guild Local 1521 v. Los Angeles Community College District, the Los Angeles Community College District removed for-credit remedial courses, which were two levels below transfer level, from the Fall 2019 schedule.

Faculty members received an email explaining that these courses were canceled because they were inconsistent with the implementation plan for Assembly Bill 705. The Los Angeles College Faculty Guild at eight of the district’s nine colleges unsuccessfully filed grievances, then submitted the matter to arbitration under the grievance procedure of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Read more: Court finds California restaurant chain gave late payment for arbitration initiation fees

The district refused to arbitrate. It argued that the guild’s claims were outside the scope of representation under the EERA and outside the CBA’s scope. In response, the guild filed a motion and a petition to compel arbitration.

The trial court denied both the motion and the petition. It made the following findings:

  • The CBA did not delegate the issue of arbitrability to the arbitrator;
  • The court should be the one to decide that issue;
  • The guild’s claims were outside the scope of representation under the EERA and were not arbitrable;
  • The guild failed to raise arbitrable issues under certain articles of the CBA;
  • The cancellation of the courses did not violate those articles.

The guild disagreed with the trial court’s findings and appealed.

The California Court of Appeal for the Second District affirmed the trial court’s decision to deny the motion and petition to compel arbitration. First, the appellate court ruled that the court should determine the arbitrability issue and that the CBA’s language did not delegate this issue to the arbitrator.

The guild claimed that, in the past, the arbitrator has decided the question of arbitrability and that the parties have operated a well-established arbitration process for many years. The appellate court rejected this argument based on the guild’s failure to provide citations supporting this claim and details of the previous arbitrations.

Second, the appellate court held that the EERA limited the arbitrable issues. The EERA covered the arbitration agreement, given that it was a part of the CBA, the court said. Lastly, the appellate court found that the guild failed to show arbitrable issues under the CBA articles involved in this case.

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