Despite Federal Attacks Against Public Sector Workers, California Stands with Us

On June 27, 2018, the Supreme Court decided in favor of big corporate billionaires over the everyday working American.

But three hours after the Supreme Court decision, California decided to quietly stick up for employees when Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 866 into law. Because we have politically active union memberships in California, we have a state legislative body that is willing to introduce and push for worker-friendly bills.

The new law applies to all public employers covered by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), including cities and counties, and provides for the following protections:

  • Employers cannot intimidate or try to stop employees from joining or staying in a union.

Why it’s necessary: We can come together as employees as a union to build collective power for a better workplace. Employers cannot retaliate against us for doing so. This was already in existing law, but SB 866 reinforces that.

  • Employers are required to keep new employee orientation information confidential; the date, time, and place of the orientation shall not be disclosed to anyone except for with employees, unions, or vendors contracted specifically for the orientation. 

Why it’s necessary: Conservative groups like the Freedom Foundation will try access to your information by asking employers for your name, number, and address. In places like Washington, where they already have an established presence, they have gone so far as to masquerade as employers and call unions to get membership information so they can harass union members to drop their union. SB 866 at least keeps new employee orientation information confidential so the Freedom Foundation can’t target employees at orientations.

  • If an employer sends a mass communication out to employees about the Janus v. AFSCME decision or an employee’s right to join or support unions, they must “meet and confer” with our union about the content of the communication. If we do not come to an agreement about the content of the communication, they may still choose to send it, but they must also include a communication from our union.

Why it’s necessary: This is to make sure that employers are disseminating accurate information about Janus v. AFSCME, and not sending out anti-union or Freedom Foundation propaganda to employees. This makes sure that they do not encourage members to drop our union or intimidate employees from joining or staying in a union.