(a) The employee organization may request that the parties' differences be submitted to a factfinding panel not sooner than 30 days, but not more than 45 days, following the appointment or selection of a mediator pursuant to the parties' agreement to mediate or a mediation process required by a public agency's local rules. If the dispute was not submitted to mediation, an employee organization may request that the parties' differences be submitted to a factfinding panel not later than 30 days following the date that either party provided the other with a written notice of a declaration of impasse. Within five days after receipt of the written request, each party shall select a person to serve as its member of the factfinding panel. The Public Employment Relations Board shall, within five days after the selection of panel members by the parties, select a chairperson of the factfinding panel.
(b) Within five days after the board selects a chairperson of the factfinding panel, the parties may mutually agree upon a person to serve as chairperson in lieu of the person selected by the board.
(c) The panel shall, within 10 days after its appointment, meet with the parties or their representatives, either jointly or separately, and may make inquiries and investigations, hold hearings, and take any other steps it deems appropriate. For the purpose of the hearings, investigations, and inquiries, the panel shall have the power to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence. Any state agency, as defined in Section 11000, the California State University, or any political subdivision of the state, including any board of education, shall furnish the panel, upon its request, with all records, papers, and information in their possession relating to any matter under investigation by or in issue before the panel.
(d) In arriving at their findings and recommendations, the factfinders shall consider, weigh, and be guided by all the following criteria:
(1) State and federal laws that are applicable to the employer.
(2) Local rules, regulations, or ordinances.
(3) Stipulations of the parties.
(4) The interests and welfare of the public and the financial ability of the public agency.
(5) Comparison of the wages, hours, and conditions of employment of the employees involved in the factfinding proceeding with the wages, hours, and conditions of employment of other employees performing similar services in comparable public agencies.
(6) The consumer price index for goods and services, commonly known as the cost of living.
(7) The overall compensation presently received by the employees, including direct wage compensation, vacations, holidays, and other excused time, insurance and pensions, medical and hospitalization benefits, the continuity and stability of employment, and all other benefits received.
(8) Any other facts, not confined to those specified in paragraphs (1) to (7), inclusive, which are normally or traditionally taken into consideration in making the findings and recommendations.
(e) The procedural right of an employee organization to request a factfinding panel cannot be expressly or voluntarily waived.
(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 314, Sec. 1.)