Employment Board decision a victory for OCEA members

Dear OCEA member,

We recently received a decision from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that confirms what we have always known—the County’s unilateral adoption of its COIN ordinance violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act governing labor relations in California. The Board ordered that the sections of the COIN (Civic Openness in Negotiations) ordinance we found objectionable are void and unenforceable. This was a complete win and a great victory for OCEA members and public employees across California.

Many of you may remember the controversy over the COIN ordinance first adopted by anti-worker majorities on the Costa Mesa City Council, the County and other cities beginning in 2012. The ordinance was championed by former Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach. In a nutshell, COIN called for putting our contract proposals in the public eye making good faith negotiations with our employers impossible. Proponents like Moorlach made the cynical claim COIN would increase government transparency when the broad aim of the ordinance was to put OCEA proposals in a negative light.

OCEA fought back by sponsoring SB 331, a statewide bill placing the same disclosure requirements on negotiations with private contractors as required by COIN for labor negotiations. SB 331 only applied to agencies that had adopted COIN. Rather than disclose contract negotiations with private parties—including those with contractors making political donations to Supervisors—the County dropped its COIN ordinance which helped lead to successful contract negotiations in 2015.

There are still some jurisdictions holding on to their COIN ordinances making this November's PERB decision very important. Beyond that, it further cements OCEA’s position as a leader among California labor organizations in the fight against those who seek to destroy us. And it provides further validation of your bold decisions to always look forward and have the conviction to invest in the struggle for what is right on behalf of OCEA members.

We won this victory by standing together. Congratulations!

In solidarity,

Charles Barfield
OCEA Asst. General Manager

Publication Date: November 28, 2018