Frequently Asked Questions - Labor Relations

Labor Relations

Proof of Service

What is Proof of Service?

Proof of Service is a method of verifying that a document has been transmitted to an individual, union, or an individual's representative.

When is Proof of Service used?

A Proof of Service may be required under certain provisions of a collective bargaining agreement or the Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM). Managers and supervisors should review the appropriate article or policy when taking an action. In addition, a Proof of Service is required for management responses to employee grievances.

When and how is Proof of Service by Personal Delivery used?

When delivery is to be made by personal presentation, the person who will actually deliver the document(s) should complete the Proof of Service form and hand the document to the addressee. Some points to remember:

  • The individual who signs the Proof of Service must actually hand the document to the addressee.
  • The signator on the Proof of Service cannot be a party to the subject matter of the document. In other words, the supervisor signing the discipline letter cannot sign the Proof of Service.
  • The signator to the Proof of Service should not be a bargaining unit employee or a subordinate of the individual to whom the document is addressed. When Personal Delivery is used, a supervisor should have another supervisor handle the delivery.
  • A copy of the Proof of Service form(s) should be attached to copies of the transmitted documents that will be retained in the department. If responding to an employee grievance, a copy of the response and Proof of Service form(s) should be sent to the Labor Relations Specialist assigned to the case.

When and how is Proof of Service by Mail Delivery used?

When delivery is by United States Mail, the person who is going to mail the document fills out the Proof of Service form and mails it with the document. Some points to remember:

  • The envelope should be addressed to the employee's last known address.
  • The signator on the Proof of Service cannot be a party to the subject matter of the document. In other words, the supervisor signing the discipline letter cannot sign the Proof of Service. Also, the signator to the Proof of Service should not be a bargaining unit employee or a subordinate of the individual to whom the document is addressed.
  • The person signing the form should place the document(s) in the envelope, including a copy of the Proof of Service, seal it, and affix sufficient US Postage to insure First Class delivery.
  • The person signing the Proof of Service form should deposit the envelope in a United States Postal Service (USPS) deposit box before the last scheduled pickup on the date the Proof of Service is signed.
  • A copy of the Proof of Service form(s) should be attached to copies of the transmitted document that will be retained in the department. If responding to an employee grievance, a copy of the response and Proof of Service form(s) should be sent to the Labor Relations Specialist assigned to the case.

What should be entered in the sections that require completion?

  • Work Address - Signator of Proof of Service form should identify his/her campus address (include city, state, and zip code).
  • Date of Delivery - The date the document is handed to the employee.
  • Date of Mailing - The date the document is placed in the USPS Mail box.
  • Subject of Document - Identify document (Example: Intent to Dismiss).
  • Name of Recipient - The name of the individual to whom the document is being personally delivered via Proof of Service.
  • Location of Recipient - Identify the work location of the recipient if delivered at work (Example: Physics, 366 LeConte Hall, University of California at Berkeley).
  • Name, street address, city, state, and zip code - Identify the name of the individual to whom the document is being mailed and the individual's mailing address.
  • Name/Signature - The name of the individual who will be handling the Proof of Service.

Union Representation

Are wage increases subject to collective bargaining?

All wage issues will be subject to the collective bargaining process.

Does the union have the ability to unilaterally grant raises and/or prevent termination of employees?

No. These matters are part of the negotiations process between the University and any union certified to represent a unit of University employees.

How is the amount of union dues established?

The union determines the amount of dues and fees. The union would be able to inform you about their current dues structure. If you have questions about the dues structure, then you should make further inquiries directly to the union.

Will I have any say in the negotiations?

Each union has its own rules about whether all employees or only union members (i.e., dues-payers) can express their views on contract matters.

Does UC have an opinion about whether or not employees should be unionized?

The University adheres to the principle that representation by a union is a matter of employee choice.

UC supports employees’ rights to determine for themselves whether or not they think unionization is beneficial. The University believes that its role is to ensure that you have an informed choice when faced with this important decision and to ensure that you understand the process.

If the union obtains a majority of signed authorization cards, or if a majority of voting employees elects a union as the bargaining representative, will I have to become a member of that union and pay dues?

No. Membership in the union is up to you. By law you cannot be forced to join the union. However, you will have to pay something to the union for its representation. These are called “agency fees”. The amount depends on the union.

If there is an election, is there a minimum number of employees that must vote in order to decide the outcome?

No. A majority of the employees actually voting determines the outcome. If only 100 people vote, then only 51 need to say yes. They would end up deciding for every other employee in the group. This is why you should make sure to vote.

Is membership in the union required to vote in an election?

No, if your position is included in the bargaining unit, you may – and should – vote.

If I signed an authorization card, and would like to revoke it, what should I do?

Under current PERB case law, authorization cards cannot be revoked.

How does an election actually take place and what will be my choices on the ballot?

If the union collects more than 30% of the signed authorization cards but less than a (50%) majority, PERB will hold an election. You will have two ballot choices:

  1. "No Representation" – this means you DO NOT WANT unionization
  2. The union’s name– this means YOU DO WANT unionization

Whichever option receives a simple majority of the votes cast wins. If a majority of those voting select "No Representation" you will continue to participate in the University's personnel programs for non-represented employees.

If I signed an authorization card, do I have to vote in favor of the union if an election takes place?

No. If the union collects enough cards, there will be no election and there will be no vote. Then your signature on the authorization card is your vote for the union. But if the union does not get enough cards, and there is an election, you may vote your opinion as of the date of the election. You are not bound to vote for the union on the basis of your signature.

If I signed an authorization card, am I automatically a member of the union?

No. If the union is certified as your bargaining representative, you will have the option of joining the union or being represented by the union.

Does that mean that signing the card is effectively the same as voting for the union in an election?

Yes. If the union submits enough cards (50%+1), then there will be no election and the Union would be legally certified as exclusive representative for all employees in the bargaining unit. There would be no opportunity to vote.

Once employees choose to be represented by a union, can they change their minds?

Yes. There is such a process called decertification, which is also driven by employee choice. This process is complex and can take a long period of time. It requires the filings of a certain amount of cards and a subsequent election.

The University would not and cannot be involved in this process.

What is an authorization card?

An authorization card is a document giving your permission for the union to represent you and requires your signature.

What does it mean if I signed an authorization card?

It means you are choosing the union to act as your representative. A union may submit these cards to PERB, and based on a card check and not an election, become your exclusive representative if it obtains a majority of signed authorization cards. If a union obtains less than a majority but more than 30% of signed authorization cards, there will be an election.

How does a union become my exclusive representative?

There are two ways that this can occur.

A union can collect enough authorization cards from you and your coworkers. It will need to collect cards from over 50% of the designated group of employees (called a bargaining unit) to automatically become your collective bargaining representative.

It can also happen by a vote. In order for a vote to happen, the union would have to collect authorization cards from at least 30% of the bargaining unit. Then the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) would hold an election. In order for the union to win the election, 50% of the employees who vote would have to vote in favor of unionization. If that happened, you would be represented by the union.

What is a union?

A union is an organization which has as one of its purposes to collectively bargain the wages, hours and conditions of employment of a particular group of employees. It acts as your exclusive representative for these purposes. In order for the union to become your exclusive representative, a sufficient number of employees must show an interest in being represented.

What does it mean to be exclusively represented?

If, through the representation process, the union represents you, it also represents all employees like you throughout the UC system. The union has the authority and the exclusive right to negotiate with UC management on the amount of wages, benefits and working conditions that the employees will receive. The legal power to negotiate as an individual would change and the union would become the agent for all employees in the bargaining unit. Once the union represents you, potential wage increases could be less a matter of individual performance and achievement, and would be the outcome(s) of the collective bargaining process.

Employee and Labor Relations

Whom do I call regarding state of emergency issues?

This could be either Public Affairs or Employee Relations, depending on the question.

Whom do I call regarding contract questions?

You should consult first with your department human resources manager, who may wish to consult with Employee Relations. If you do not have a department human resources manager, you should contact campus Employee Relations at 642-9046.

Can volunteers work for money?

No, volunteers cannot be paid. The receipt of money for services performed would render these individuals “employees.”

Can we offer to pay our volunteers?

No, we cannot pay volunteers, but we can hire them as employees.

Will background checks be required for new hires?

If there is a legal mandate that an employee be subject to successful completion of a background check before commencing work, the University is obligated to comply with the law. The campus has identified positions that, under policy (not the law), require background checks. In an emergency situation, a decision will be made by senior campus management as to which of those positions would require an individual to have a background check.

Is a supervisor’s presence required for staff to perform work?

A supervisor or manager should be available to employees in a work area. Lead employees can be used to give out work, direct work or oversee the performance of a task. However, only a supervisor can give a direct order, impose discipline, reschedule the employee, assign overtime, and make determinations regarding health and safety issues. Specific questions regarding the authority of a lead employee should be directed to an Employee Relations Consultant.

Will employees be granted any administrative leave?

The decision to grant administrative leave with pay rests with the Chancellor.

Will staff be given time off to go to the bank?

Staff are free to use break and lunch time as they wish. As is the case now, supervisors can permit employees to occasionally combine lunch and break periods on a case-by-case basis. They can also approve the use of vacation or compensatory time off or permit the employee to make up the lost time during that same workweek.

Can staff change their work schedule?

PPSM and the contracts permit changes in work schedules at either the employee’s request or the request of management. Most of the contracts require some advance notice to employees and the union of schedule changes. Again, it may be possible to waive those notice requirements. Supervisors and Managers should contact their Employee Relations Consultant for guidance.

If an employee who receives a shift differential is temporarily (4 days or less) transferred to a shift that does not receive a shift differential, PPSM and the contracts require the University to continue to pay the shift differential.

If an employee is moved from a shift that does not get a shift differential to one that does, the employee should be paid the shift differential at the appropriate rate.

Can staff work alternative work schedules?

The regular work schedule at the University is eight hours/day for five consecutive days within a week. Alternate work schedules are schedules that are not five days at eight hours, for example, working ten hours per day over four days within a week.

PPSM and the contracts covering staff employees permit alternate work schedules. The contracts require 30 days advance notice to employees and the union when the University is attempting to establish an alternate work schedule. Most of the contacts permit some flexibility on the notice requirement. Supervisors and managers who need to have employees work an alternate schedule or who get requests from employees for alternate work schedules that they can accommodate should contact their Employee Relations Specialist to determine how best to proceed.

How is time accounted for if the Chancellor declares a “campus closure”?

Information on campus closures can be found primarily in the vacation articles of the contracts; information on how sick leave accrual is handled during campus closures is found in the sick leave articles of the contract. For PPSM, see Absence from Work, III.F, Administrative Leaves.

During a curtailment, employees are allowed to use accrued vacation or compensatory time off, or up to three (3) days of vacation leave prior to accrual. Employees may also opt to use leave without pay. Additionally, up to three (3) days of an unpaid curtailment leave shall be considered time on pay status for the purpose of accruing vacation credits and sick leave.

How do we account for staff’s time?

Supervisors and managers should follow departmental procedures. Supervisors or managers with questions regarding hours of work, leave of absence, vacation and sick leave should consult PPSM or the appropriate collective bargaining agreement and/or a campus Employee Relations Consultant.

Are staff required to fill out timesheets during this time?

To the extent that staff are present or can fill out timesheets via some other form of communication, timesheets should be completed in accordance with department policies. If employees are not available, timesheets may be delayed or may have to be amended. Please remember that the University cannot recoup overpayments to an employee without going through proper legal proceedings. If an employee has been overpaid, the supervisor will have to contact Payroll to secure the necessary forms for adjusting subsequent paychecks.

Will special consideration be made for people who are caretakers of children or the elderly?

Supervisors should take such demands into consideration, but may require some proof or written documentation that the employee is required to be present and be the care-giver. It may be that the supervisor and the employee can reach some agreement regarding hours of work or a reduction in time. Again, this should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Can staff use vacation time if they do not come in?

Staff can use accrued vacation and compensatory time off if approved by the supervisor in accordance with departmental policy and PPSM or the appropriate contract. Operational needs will need to be taken into consideration when granting any type of leave.

Can staff be required to perform work normally performed by employees in other classifications?

Yes, if they possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and ability and meet all other requirements of the position. Most contracts have provisions for out-of-class work. If the work assigned is at a lower classification, the employee retains their current salary. If the work is at a higher level and is performed for 20 or more days, the employee should be paid at the higher rate. For PPSM employees, see PPSM Policy #30, Salary, I. Administrative Stipends for temporary appointments. The change should be documented to the employee and a copy of the documentation should be placed in the personnel file.

What are the consequences if staff do not come in to work?

Supervisors should handle this on a case-by-case basis and exercise good judgment. In this instance, supervisors may have to balance the personal needs of the employee with the needs of the department.

If a supervisor does not grant the employee leave, the employee will be considered absent without approval and will not be paid for the time. The decision whether or not to take formal disciplinary action is a decision to be made on a case-by-case basis.

Can we require staff to work overtime?

Staff can be required to work overtime. Under the contracts, overtime is offered on the basis of seniority. If no one accepts the offer of overtime, then it is assigned on the basis of inverse order of seniority. Some contracts permit employees to file “requests not to be assigned overtime.” To the extent possible, supervisors and managers should honor those requests. If a particular skill is required to be performed during the overtime, supervisors and managers can assign that overtime to employees who possess that skill regardless of seniority. PPSM has no requirement to assign overtime by seniority; thus, management has discretion to assign overtime as it deems necessary.

Can I order my staff to come in?

Pertinent contract articles: Hours of Work, Leaves of Absence
Pertinent PPSM Policies: #31 Hours of Work, Absence from Work

Staff can be directed to come in to work on their normal work days. If an employee states that s/he cannot come in, the matter should be handled as a leave request. Supervisors should follow their normal protocol in approving or denying the requested leave.

PPSM and most contracts have provisions for call-back. Supervisors can use these provisions to call employees back to work on their non-work days or for hours on work days that fall outside the employee’s regular hours of work.

Supervisors can also require employees to work overtime. In all instances, supervisors should review the overtime provisions found in the Hours of Work articles of the collective bargaining agreements and PPSM Policy #32, Overtime. Supervisors should check the policy or appropriate contract covering the bargaining unit that the employees who are being assigned the work.