Assembly Bill 119 Mandates Union Access to New Employee Orientation and Other Information for Public Employers

By Colby Mills – 26 July 2017

On June 27, 2017, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 119 into law, effective July 1, 2017.

AB 119 requires public employers (including school districts, transit agencies, and county offices of education) to provide union representatives “mandatory access” to any new employee orientation, regardless of whether that orientation is conducted in person, online, or another medium.  The bill defines new employee orientation as “the onboarding process of a newly hired public employee . . . in which employees are advised of their employment status, rights, benefits, duties and responsibilities, or any other employment-related matters.”

The bill states that upon request by either the employer or the union, the parties must “negotiate regarding the structure, time, and manner” of the union’s access to the new employee orientation.  If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the matter will be subject to compulsory interest arbitration, which would result in an arbitrator’s decision defining the access to be granted.  The parties must equally share the cost of arbitration.

Either party may request negotiation of the issue, and the parties are compelled to open negotiations even if a current collective bargaining agreement or memorandum of understanding exists.  However, the parties may choose to negotiate a “side letter or similar agreement” in lieu of reopening a current CBA or MOU.

Furthermore, AB 119 compels public employers to provide a union with any new employee’s job and contact information “within 30 days of the date of hire or by the first pay period of the month following hire.”  This includes the newly hired employee’s:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Department
  • Work location
  • Work phone number
  • Personal email address on file with the employer,
  • Home address
  • Home phone number
  • Cell phone number

Moreover, AB 119 requires a public employer to provide the union with the above information for all employees in the bargaining unit every 120 days “unless more frequent or more detailed lists are required by an agreement.”

Colby Mills is an attorney at law who counsels clients on a broad spectrum of education and employment  issues, including special education, student discipline, as well as human resources/personnel matters, employee handbooks, and collective bargaining and labor relations. Prior to joining Girard, Edwards, Stevens & Tucker LLP, Mr. Mills spent several years teaching high school as a special education teacher.

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