Bargaining Bill Stopped in Senate
September 7, 2017
Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas notified counties this week that he would not continue to move AB 1603 through the legislative process. The measure, which was opposed by CSAC as well as CHEAC, CAPH, CBHDA, as well as psychiatrists and others, would have allowed all private contractors who contract with counties to join in the collective bargaining process with county union employees. It is now a two-year bill, which means that the bill will not move forward during this year’s legislative session.
The sponsors of the bill, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, had recently amended the bill to apply specifically to licensed professionals working within county public hospitals and clinics. However, despite continued county concerns with the amended version, the bill passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week due to the absence of state costs. County concerns continues to center around the concept within AB 1603 to allow contracted employees working in county health settings – including physicians and psychiatrists – to join in the county collective bargaining process, entitling them to the same benefits as those that the county bargains with county unionized employees.
While AB 1603 is not related to AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer), it does raise many of the same issues, as county public hospitals, health clinics, and the behavioral health system in each county must retain the authority to contract with clinicians to provide critical safety-net services.
CSAC will continue to engage Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas on these issues and provide updates on the bill should work continue into next year.