City of Los Angeles v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
After declaring a fiscal emergency, the City of Los Angeles adopted a mandatory furlough program for its civilian employees. Many of those employees that were represented by a union (Union) filed grievances against the City, contending that the furloughs violated memorandums of understanding (MOUs) governing the terms and conditions of their employment. The grievances were denied, and the City denied the employees' request to arbitrate. The superior court subsequently granted the Union's petition for an order compelling the City to arbitrate the dispute. The court of appeal granted the City's petition for a writ of mandate, concluding that the City could not be compelled to arbitrate under the terms of the MOUs because arbitration would constitute an unlawful delegation to the arbitrator of discretionary policymaking powers that the City's charter vested in its city council. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) arbitration of the employee furlough dispute did not constitute an unlawful delegation of discretionary authority to the arbitrator; and (2) the City was contractually obligated to arbitrate the dispute.