In its just issued annual report, the Public Employment Relations Board cited the lack of strike activity last year among public sector unions as the signal that impasse procedures and the parties’ “professionalism” work.
The reports states, in relevant part:
"In reviewing our case activity for FY 2004-05 and the directors’ reports on their program areas, it appears that the public sector labor community has reached a new level of understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the Taylor Law.
"In support of this conclusion, I note that no illegal work stoppages (strikes) were reported in the 2003 and 2004 calendar years, and none has been reported thus far this year. This marks the longest continuous period without a strike in PERB’s 38 year history and fulfills a major objective of the law – to ensure the orderly and uninterrupted operations and functions of government.
"Perhaps the lack of strike activity can be attributed to the parties’ proper use of our impasse resolution procedures. While the Office of Conciliation received 14% more impasses in FY 04-05 than in the prior fiscal year, the percentage successfully resolved at the mediation stage continued at more than 80% for the second successive year. These statistics demonstrate the effectiveness of the statutory impasse resolution procedures and evidence the good faith efforts of the parties in their willingness to resolve their conflicts when assisted by a third party neutral."
Given this climate will our Union buck the trend?