2014 Legislative Wrap Up

The 2014 legislative session has come to an end, and the California Labor Movement worked hard to get significant worker protections to the Governor’s desk. There were some exciting victories but also some disappointing defeats. Highlights of Labor’s priority bills include:

Federation Sponsored Bills

AB 1897 (Hernandez): California is now the first state in the nation to enact significant new protections for temporary and contract workers. AB 1897 will make companies that use a third party to supply workers jointly liable for wages, worker safety, and provision of workers compensation. (Co-sponsored with the Teamsters) Signed into law.

AB 1792 (Gomez): Californians are subsidizing Wal-Mart and other major corporations because workers are paid so little they qualify for public benefits. AB 1792 will require the State to prepare a report that shows which companies have the greatest number of workers receiving Medi-Cal along with the cost to taxpayers. (Co-sponsored with UFCW and SEIU Local 1000) Signed into law.

SB 1182 (Leno): Health care cost increases are unsustainable for our employers, our members, and our trust funds. SB 1182 will require plans to provide our trust funds with to data used to rate premiums for their group from health plans to help us negotiate better rates for our members and union employers. (Co-sponsored with UNITEHERE and Teamsters) Signed into law.

Paid Sick Days

AB 1522 (Gonzalez): Beginning July 1, 2015, California will require employers to provide three paid sick days for the more than 6.5 million workers who do not have them. Nearly all workers, including part-time, temporary, and those employed by small businesses, will now earn paid sick days.  The law wrongly excludes homecare workers who are just as deserving of this benefit and we commit our energy to winning paid sick days for all workers. Signed into law.

Investing in California Jobs and Intrastructure

AB 1839 (Gatto): Will extend and expand the film tax credit, which is capped, allocated, and based on certified payroll showing new jobs created to keep good unions jobs in the film industry here in California. (IATSE/Teamsters/SBCTC/LIUNA/SAG-AFTRA bill) Signed into law.

Budget Appropriation to HSR. In the 2014 budget, the Building Trades and the Labor Fed worked with the Governor and legislative leadership to secure a continuous appropriation for high-speed rail out of cap-and-trade revenue. Signed into law.

Water Bond. The Legislature passed a $7.5 billion water bond that will go before voters in November. The bond will fund important projects around the state to rebuild our water infrastructure, help us cope with the drought, and meet the needs of our diverse state, while creating good jobs. Signed by the Governor and on the November ballot.

Protections for Immigrant Workers

AB 2751 (Hernandez): This follow-up bill to AB 263 made two important improvements: The law now specifically protects a worker who is able to adjust immigration status from facing discrimination when they update paperwork on the job. Our unions are already using this new protection. In addition, this bill clarifies that the new $10,000 penalty for all retaliation under the Labor Code goes directly to the worker. (State Fed bill) Signed into law.

SB 1005 (Lara): Over one million Californians will be excluded from healthcare coverage due to immigration status. SB 1005 would have provided access to affordable health care for all Californians.  Held in Senate Appropriations.

Raising Standards in the Construction Industry

AB 26 (Bonilla): Will clarify that post-construction clean-up work is part of public works construction and therefore triggers prevailing wage requirements. (Laborers bill) Signed into law.

AB 155 (Alejo): Will provide the Monterey County Water Resources Agency with design-build authority for a water transfer project and require a Project Labor Agreement with the Monterey County Building and Construction Trades Council.  (SBCTC bill) Signed by Governor.

AB 1870 (Alejo): Will help ensure the availability of a skilled workforce by establishing a more equitable funding formula for apprenticeship programs based upon the number of apprentices that graduate from each program. (SBCTC bill) Signed into law.

AB 2272 (Gray): Will clarify that infrastructure project grants from the California Advanced Services Fund are public works construction and therefore trigger prevailing wage requirements. (Operating Engineers bill) Signed into law.

SB 785 (Wolk): Will ensure that design build projects use only skilled journeymen and apprentices. (SBCTC bill) Signed into law.

Prevailing wage enforcement: In this year’s budget, the funding for the Compliance Monitoring Unit (CMU) at the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) was changed to establish a $300 fee on contractors seeking to bid on public workers projects. This new funding will result in more than $20 million to enforce prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements on all public works projects.  (SBCTC bill) Signed into law.

Improving Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector

AB 1550 (Rendon): Would have required that, where impasse and fact-finding have been completed, public school employers provide written notice of every term of the last, best, and final offer at least 30 days before implementation. (CSEA bill) Vetoed.

AB 1611 (Bonta): Will require a public school employer to provide written notice to the union of their intent to make any changes to a matter within the scope of representation. (CSEA bill) Signed into law.

AB 2251 (Bonta): Would have strengthened the use of fact-finding and mediation for public sector workers and employers to avert labor disputes. (AFSCME, CPF, SEIU bill) Vetoed.

Protecting Worker Health and Safety

AB 1340 (Achadjian): Will improve safety for workers and patients at state hospitals by implementing a pilot program for enhanced treatment of patients who are highest risk for violent behavior. (SEIU 1000/AFSCME/UAPD bill) Signed into law.

AB 1634 (Skinner): Will require employers to abate serious workplace hazards during an appeal. Signed into law.

AB 2146 (Skinner): Encourages Cal-OSHA to update personal protective standards for firefighters. (CPF bill) Signed into law.

AB 2616 (Skinner): Would have created a rebuttable presumption of workplace exposure for health care workers infected with MRSA. (CNA bill) Vetoed.

SB 193 (Monning): Will improve outreach to workers when a workplace chemical is discovered to be much more harmful than previously thought. Signed into law.

SB 1019 (Leno): Will protect consumers and firefighters by requiring a disclosure to the consumer about whether upholstered furniture does or does not contain added flame retardant chemicals known to be carcinogenic during a fire. (CPF bill) Signed into law.

SB 1299 (Padilla): Will require OSHA to develop standards for hospitals to develop a workplace violence prevention plan. (CNA bill) Signed into law.

Improved Labor Laws & Worker Protections

AB 1035 (Perez): Will protect the death benefit for family members left behind due to an industrial death of a firefighter or peace officer from specified job related illnesses. These families were “timed-out” from receiving the death benefit under current law if the public safety officer survived their terminal illness “too long” (more than 240 weeks), and this measure extended the statute of limitations to 420 weeks from date of injury. (CPF bill) Signed into law.

AB 1834 (Williams): Would have given collective bargaining rights to over 10,000 research assistants at the UC. (UAW bill) Held in Senate Appropriations.

AB 2053 (Gonzalez): Requires supervisors to be trained on preventing workplace bullying. (Teamsters bill) Signed into law.

AB 2155 (Ridley-Thomas): Would have prohibited nurses in state facilities from being required to work mandatory overtime. (SEIU 1000/AFSCME bill) Vetoed.

AB 2288 (Hernandez): Will increase penalties for child labor and toll the statute of limitation until the child becomes an adult so they have time to file a claim. (Teamsters bill)  Signed into law.

AB 2378 (Perea): This bill would have abrogated the decision in County of Alameda v. WCAB (Knittel), which linked the 104 week limitation on Temporary Disability payments and the payments under the “4850 benefit,” eliminating 1 year of temporary disability payments for police officers and firefighters. AB 2378 would have restored that year of eligibility. (CPF bill) Vetoed.

AB 2416 (Stone): Would have allowed workers who are victims of wage theft to file a lien against the property of employers. (SEIU bill) Failed passage on the Senate Floor.

Community Benefit

AB 1574 (Pan): Would have prohibited state agencies from entering into personal services contracts that guarantee payment for services not provided. (AFSCME bill) Vetoed.

AB 1575 (Pan): Requires state contractors with personal services contracts to provide the state agency with quarterly reports about performance and expenses, and sets criteria for contract termination. (AFSCME bill) Vetoed.

AB 1942 (Bonta): Will increase accountability and transparency on the accreditation commission by requiring reports to the Legislature on major policy changes and decisions that affect the accreditation status of a community college. (CFT bill) Signed into law.

SB 270 (Padilla): Will protect the environment by banning the use of single-use plastic bags by retailers. (UFCW bill) Signed into law.

SB 610 (Jackson): Part of the nationwide fast-food campaign, this bill would protect franchisees from the powerful franchisors by making it harder for franchisors to cancel franchise agreements. (SEIU bill) Vetoed.