Labor and Employment Law

Ca. Labor & Emp't Rev. March 2020, Volume 34, No. 2

Message From the Chair

By Erich Shiners

Erich Shiners is a Board Member at the California Public Employment RelationsBoard, where he participates in deciding appeals, formulating regulations, and overseeing agency operations. Before his appointment to the Board, he represented public agency and nonprofit employers in labor and employment matters. He can be reached at

The coming of Spring means the Section’s 26th Annual Public Sector Conference is just around the corner! I have been fortunate to be involved in planning some aspect of each Public Sector Conference since 2007. (For those who didn’t read my introductory column in the November issue, I’ve practiced almost exclusively in the public sector arena, both with the State and in private practice, for my entire legal career.) I look forward to the Conference every year for two main reasons: (1) it’s the only conference that specifically covers California public sector labor and employment law topics, and (2) it’s an opportunity to see and catch up with professional colleagues in a non-work setting. This year, the conference will be followed the next day by the Section’s full-day annual meeting packed with topics of interest to all labor and employment law attorneys. That means I’ll get to see and catch up with even more colleagues and meet even more new ones!

When I talk to labor and employment attorneys who practice only in the private sector, it sometimes feels like we’re speaking different languages. Those of us who work for government agencies or represent and advise them spend much of our time dealing with issues unique to the public sector. To help you ace your next conversation with a public sector practitioner, here are a few areas where public sector practice differs from representing employers, unions, or employees in the private sector.

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