The California Public Employee Relations Program (CPER) began in 1969 in response to requests from management and labor representatives for assistance in dealing with the special problems involved in public sector employment relations.
Concern in the field was initially prompted by passage of a local government employee relations statute. In following years, three more bargaining laws were enacted covering public schools, state, and higher education employees; a state agency was established to administer the latter statutes.
The CPER Program has adapted as public sector bargaining has evolved. It serves the changing needs of those who participate in the bargaining process and those engaged in public policymaking.
The program conducts public sector employment relations research, both at statewide and national levels, and publishes a series of Pocket Guides to the laws impacting public sector employee relations. The program also provides reference and consultation services; cooperates with labor relations, academic, research, and community organizations; and assists public policymakers and the news media.
Owing to its nonadversarial, analytical approach, CPER has achieved high visibility among practitioners and legislators at all levels of government and among organizations concerned with developments in the field.
CPER has long been an important resource for government and private agencies concerned with public sector research, including sister institutes of industrial relations, the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California, and the National Academy of Arbitrators.