Union Orientation Required by New State Law
As part of the budget process, the Legislature passed a trailer bill, AB 119, that includes a requirement for public agency employers to give labor representatives access to newly-hired employees during onboarding orientations. The requirements in AB 119 only apply to public agencies with union employees and every aspect of the requirements below would be negotiable under an agency’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their various bargaining units. Below is a summary of the requirements:
- Public employers must provide union representatives with mandatory access to new employee orientations.
- The employers must provide the unions a 10-day notice in advance of an orientation.
- The structure, time, and manner of the unions’ access shall be determined through a mutual agreement process between the employer and the union.
- If the employer and union cannot come to an agreement on the terms of the structure, time, and manner of the union access within 45 days after the first meeting on the subject or within 60 days after the first request to discuss the topic, either party can demand to go to compulsory interest arbitration, where only these topics could be discussed. The costs of arbitration would be split equally by both parties.
- Between the time this legislation is enacted and the expiration of an existing MOU, either the employer or the union may request to meet and confer regarding access to employee orientations, which would reopen an MOU solely for the limited purpose of negotiating an agreement regarding access of unions to new employee orientations.
- Employers shall provide their unions with the name, job title, department, work location, work, home, and personal cellular telephone numbers, personal email addresses that are on file with the employer, and the home address of any newly hired employee within 30 days of the date of hire or by the first pay period of the month following hire. Additionally, the employer must send their unions the previously listed employee information for all represented employees every 120 days.
This budget trailer bill is the result of nearly two years of negotiations. Past iterations included onerous, one-size-fits-all requirements on employers for how and when orientations would be scheduled. These previous proposals were prescriptive as to the nature and timing of union access to agency employees. However, this most recent version of the orientation mandate, proposed by Governor Brown, moves the issue to the MOU process. Every provision of this legislation is negotiable at the local level through the MOU process, including the 10-day notification and employee contact information requirements.
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