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Local Government Groups, Law Enforcement Remain Opposed to Legislation that Mandates Public Employee Union Orientations during Work Hours

August 18, 2016
This week a broad coalition representing cities, counties, special districts, law enforcement and local education agencies voiced their continued opposition to AB 2835 (Cooper).

This gut-and-amend measure, which is now eligible for a floor vote in the Senate, requires public agencies to provide all newly hired employees with highly prescriptive employer orientations as well as time for unions to provide an in-person 30-minute orientation. The League, and other groups’, opposition remains on this bill because it is extremely costly to local governments and poses logistical challenges that make it almost impossible to comply with and effectively deliver services to our respective constituents.

The Department of Finance (DOF) estimated that to implement, the Aug. 1 version of AB 2835 would cost $350 million annually for both state and local agencies, with approximately $70 million being the local cost. Since the bill was last amended, no financial analysis has been completed, which begs the question of how a measure that has an undetermined cost to the state can go Gov. Jerry Brown, who is dedicated to keeping the state’s financial status stable.
There are four main areas of concern identified in an Aug. 16 letter to the Legislature outlining the opposition of the coalition of local agency organizations:
  • Requires public employers to provide all newly hired employees an orientation within two months of the time of hiring.
  • Requires orientations to be conducted in-person, during the regular workday of employees attending. The employee representative of each bargaining unit must be given at least 10 days advance notice of any orientation provided by the employer.
  • Requires, for represented employees, the exclusive representative to be provided 30 minutes, within the first half of the orientation, to make a presentation on paid time. The content of the presentation would be determined solely by the exclusive representative and not subject to negotiation.

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