Employee Relations update 10/3/2014
The following are actions taken by Governor Brown on high-priority labor relations bills.
AB 194 (Campos) – Concerns
Counties will recall that Assembly Bill 194, by Assembly Member Nora Campos, would have essentially negate any action taken by a local legislative body if that action was taken in accordance of curtailing public comment/public criticism associated with California’s open meeting laws governed by the Ralph M. Brown Act.
CSAC, along with several other local agency advocacy groups, worked diligently to oppose the measure in that form, pointing out that current law already explicitly states actions that can be taken in the case that public criticism or comment has been violated by a member of a local legislative body and AB 194 could simply be used as a tool to delay decisions made by the body or target a specific member of the body. No evidence that the protections afforded under the Brown Act have been violated has been brought forth to necessitate need for this bill.
Accordingly, the bill was amended to clarify public comment under the Brown Act, as well as permit the public to comment both before and during an agenda item.
AB 1522 (Gonzales) – Oppose
Assembly Bill 1522, by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, provides that an employee who works in California for 30 or more days in a calendar year is entitled to one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, for up to six six days per year. The bill was amended to specify that an employer is not required to provide additional paid sick days if the employer has a paid leave policy or paid time off policy that satisfy’s the bill’s requirements and/or provides no less than 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave (or paid leave or paid time off) for employee use each year of employment or calendar year or 12-month basis. The bill was additionally amended on the last day of session to exempt in-home support service providers, an exemption requested by CSAC and other stakeholders.
AB 2126 (Bonta) – OPPOSE
Assembly Bill 2126, by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, would eradicate local control of collective bargaining procedures by requiring the following:
MANDATORY MEDIATION. The bill would allow either the public agency or employee organization to request mediation if, after impasse is declared, the parties fail to reach agreement. The parties must agree upon the appointment of a mediator within five days of the request and if they are unable to agree, either party can request that PERB appoint a mediator (PERB must then appoint a mediator within five days of that request).
SCOPE OF FACTFINDING. AB 2126 would allow differences arising
from ANY dispute over ANY matter within the scope of
representation, when the obligation to meet and confer exists, to
be submitted to a factfinding panel. Currently, the ability for
either party to request factfinding only applies to those
disputes arising during collective bargaining for a new or
memorandum of understanding.
AB 2052 (Gonzales) - OPPOSE
AB 2052, by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzales, would increase the number of peace officers that are eligible for several presumptions – including cancer, heart trouble, and pneumonia. This is accomplished by expanding all of the current presumption laws to include all “individuals described” in several Penal Code sections regarding the definition of a peace officer. This represents a massive expansion of presumptions that will result in significant new costs for cities, counties, special districts, universities, the state, and more.
AB 2378 (Perea) – OPPOSE
Assembly Bill 2378, by Assembly Member Henry Perea, would essentially remove Labor Code Section 4850 benefits from the 104-week limit on aggregate disability payments for work-related injuries that cause temporary disability, Therefore, public safety officers would receive full salary benefits for one year under Labor Code Section 4850 and two years of temporary disability benefits instead of one year when injured on the job.
AB 2616 (Skinner) – OPPOSE
AB 2616, by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner would create special rules for certain hospital employees in the workers’ compensation system by creating a legal presumption that any methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is related to employment. This special standard would apply to such claims received while the hospital worker is employed and continues for up to 60 days after s(he) leaves employment, making employers powerless to question the compensability of a claim.
SB 556 (Padilla) – OPPOSE
Senate Bill 556, by Senator Alex Padilla, was a revival of a bill by Senator Ellen Corbett, which had been placed on the Inactive File. The new version requires language such as “Contracted by” or “Service provided by” plus additional text and graphics to be placed on a contracted service provider’s uniform or vehicle if they also display the contracting public agency’s logo. The text must be displayed in the same manner as the logo “conspicuously” and “prominently” in relation to a symbol, emblem, or graphic of the public agency. The bill also prohibits a public agency logo, as defined, from appearing on any badge worn by a contracted service provider, be it a security badge, identification badge, or “shield” style badge.
CSAC strongly argued that the proposed requirements will hamper safety services by placing a greater strain on the same resources upon which public agencies rely to ensure public needs are met. This is because contracted service providers help maximize efficiency for all types of service, including emergency medical care and ambulance transport. Uniform or logo requirements are often included in contracts to ensure that the public knows who the contractor is serving and for identifying regional operations during a major disaster or mutual aid request from a local agency. However, SB 556 will drive up contractor costs for uniforms, vehicles and badges that would be passed onto state and local agencies, hampering core service delivery.
AB 1897 (Neutral)
Assembly Bill 1897, by Assembly Member Roger Hernandez, establishes liability for client employers that obtain workers from third-party labor contractors.
- Requires a client employer to share with a labor contractorall civil legal responsibility and civil liability for the payment of wages to workers provided by a labor contractor, the failure to report and pay all required employer contributions, worker contributions, and personal income tax withholdingsand failure to secure valid workers’ compensation coverage.
- Prohibits a client employer from shifting to a labor contractor any legal duties or responsibilities related to workplace health and safety.
- Clarifies that these provisions are in addition to, and shall be supplemental of, any other liability or requirement established by statute or common law.
- Specifies that this bill does not prohibit a client employer from establishing, exercising, or enforcing by contract any otherwise lawful remedies against a labor contractor for indemnification for liability created by acts of a labor contractor, and vice versa.
- Provides that, upon request by a state enforcement agency or department, a client employer or a labor contractor shall provide to the agency or department any information required to verify compliance with applicable state laws. Upon request, these records shall be made available promptly for inspection, and the state agency or department shall be permitted to copy them.
- Defines “client employer” to mean an individual or entity thatobtains or is provided workers to perform labor or services within the usual course of business of the individual or entity from a labor contractor. Defines “labor contractor” to mean an individual or entity that contracts with a client employer to supply workers to perform labor or services within the usual course of business or otherwise provides workers to perform labor or services within the usual course of business for the client employer.
- Specifies that “worker” does not include an employee who is exempt from the payment of overtime wages under existing exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees.
CSAC, with other stakeholders, succeeded in getting AB 1897 amended to exempt local agencies, a huge win for local governments.