Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Governor Reviews Bills Favorable to Public Employees

Governor Jerry Brown has two bills on his desk that, if signed into law, will be favorable to public employees. The first bill amends the California Fair Pay Act to include race and ethnicity. The second bill mandates public employers allow employee associations to participate in employee orientations.

AB 1676: California Fair Pay Act Amendment

The California Fair Pay Act prohibits employers from paying an employee at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for similar work. Employers in violation of this law can be charged with a misdemeanor. AB 1676 amends the California Fair Pay Act to include race and ethnicity. In addition, this bill prohibits employers from using an employee's prior salary, by itself, to justify any pay disparity.

This bill has been passed by both houses and is under Governor Brown's review.

AB 2835:  "Union Recruiting" Bill

AB 2835 provides that public employers must provide new employees with an orientation within four months of hiring. If the employees are represented by an employee association, the association must be permitted to make a 30-minute presentation in the first half of the orientation. The association must be given at least 10-days notice of the orientation, and the association must be provided new employee's name, telephone number, and home address within 30 days of hire. PERB is granted authority to enforce these requirements.

This bill originated while Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was being decided. Friedrichs threatened employee association's access to agency fees in the public sector. This bill was introduced to allow employee associations an opportunity to make a presentation to new employees to share with them the benefits of joining the association. If signed into law, this bill will help strengthen membership in public employee associations.