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Second Attempt at Costly Employee Orientation Proposal Fails in Senate

September 2, 2016
The Legislature often acts in a manner that is responsive to issues that have local, state or even national implications.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 4-4 ruling in the controversial Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which challenged the collection of “fair share” or “compulsory” union fees from nonunion employees, organized labor responded with AB 2835 (Cooper).

Co-authored by legislative leadership, the measure was amended in June in and would have required that all public employer labor organizations be allowed 30 minutes of paid time to organize new hires. The measure did not move forward at the end of session.

A similar attempt was made last year, before the Court’s ruling. The League along with public employer counterparts strongly opposed the effort. With only four days remaining of the legislative session, the measure never made it out of mock up form.
Aside from the loss of local control, the logistical challenges and the estimated $350 million dollars annually that the measure would have shifted to the state, local governments and school districts, AB 2835 was simply unnecessary because labor unions already have broad access to meet with and inform public employees.
City engagement on this issue played a critical role in educating and informing legislators. In the final weeks of the legislative session hundreds of cities made their presence known through participating in the League’s data collection surveys. Preliminary results from over 100 cities found that the average expected staff turnover over the next five to 10 years is 37 percent, varying little between city size and staff. One city reported an expected staff turnover of 67 percent and many others estimate 50 percent or more due to expected retirements. While the real number of retirements will vary by staff size, the growing number will require a number of new employee hires — which would only drive up the cost of this measure in every year.
After months of intense lobbying from both sides, the author decided to send the measure to the Inactive File on the final day of the legislative session, meaning the measure is shelved for the year. Although this may only be a temporary reprieve as similar proposals may return next year.
Stopping this legislation took significant effort. Sustained messaging outlining the logistical and financial burden this measure would have placed on our cities truly was the catalyst in stopping this bill. City officials answered the call to action through sending letters of opposition and making phone calls to their lawmakers. The League appreciates the engagement of city officials on this important matter.

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