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Professional Engineers In California Government v. Department of Personnel Administration

October 28, 2011

PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT AND RESPONDENT.



(Super. Ct. No. 34-2010-00080765-CU-PT-GDS)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Butz , J.

Prof. Engineers in Cal. Gov't. v. Dept. Personnel Admin.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Plaintiff Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) appeals from an order denying its petition to compel defendant State of California's Department of Personnel Administration (the State) to arbitrate an issue of salary parity for 2009. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1294, subd. (a) [such an order is appealable].)

We agree with the trial court that this issue of salary parity is not within the memorandum of understanding (the MOU or the Bargaining Unit 9 MOU) between PECG and the State, and therefore is not subject to the MOU's arbitration provision. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1281.2.)

Because the issue on appeal involves only an issue of contractual and legal interpretation requiring our independent review--i.e., whether the salary parity provision for 2009 is part of the MOU and therefore arbitrable--we proceed straight to our discussion, detailing the pertinent facts as we go. (Robertson v. Health Net of California, Inc. (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1419, 1425 [applying independent review in a similar context].)

DISCUSSION

I. The Issue

In 2003, the State and PECG, on behalf of state employee Bargaining Unit 9, agreed to the MOU, which covered terms of employment from 2003 through 2008.*fn1

As pertinent, the MOU includes provisions on salary parity and arbitration.

The MOU's salary parity provision states as relevant:

"All employees in classifications in Unit 9 shall receive salaries no less than salaries received by their counterparts in California's larger local agencies and the University of California. The determination of those salaries shall be based on [Department of Personnel Administration's (DPA's)] survey of Professional Engineer Benchmarks, utilizing the California public agencies and the University of California included in the department's survey dated December 2002, updated annually, and the local agency classifications and salary range matches ...


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