Labor Committee attack on small businesses largely thwarted |

As for the Labor and Public Service Committee agenda this year, the writing was on the wall before the legislative session even began.

The CBIA once again successfully defended itself against virtually every mandate proposed by the workplace committee during this session.

However, the stars aligned for the work organized around a proposal pursued for decades – the so-called Captive Audience Bill, SB 163.

The bill allows employees to leave any employer-sponsored meeting if they subjectively believe the employer is discussing political matters, including laws or regulations that affect business operations or employee participation. employer at civic or community events.

The AABC learned early in the legislative session that despite then-Attorney General George Jepsen’s warning that an identical bill was preempted by federal law in 2019, the issue was the top priority. of the trade union movement.

Labor’s efforts were bolstered when Attorney General William Tong testified that he believed the bill was different enough to avoid the preemption problem, without citing any additional legal developments or court precedents.

Either way, it provided a cover for sympathetic lawmakers, like many who sit on the Labor Committee, to push the bill through the legislature.

“Contradictory attitude”

The state Senate approved SB 163 in a 23-11 vote on April 21, followed by the House on April 29, which approved the term 88-56, with eight Democrats and all but one Republican voting against. .

Many employer groups, including the AABC, have vigorously opposed SB 163, which has a particularly negative impact on small businesses and their employees because of its ambiguous and overbroad language.

“Not only does this reflect an adversarial attitude toward employers as they work to rebuild our economy,” said Eric Gjede of the AABC, “it’s also a blatant preemption of federal law and if the governor doesn’t does not veto, it will be settled by the courts”.

Gjede thanked Republican and Democratic lawmakers who opposed SB 163, adding that employers “appreciate their courage in opposing special interests determined to destroy our ability to compete.”

State lawmakers have also passed SB 418which prohibits any contractor who knowingly or willfully fails to pay the prevailing wage to any mechanic, laborer or construction worker – or enters into a settlement agreement – ​​from receiving public works contracts for three years.

Positive measures

On the positive side, some positive labor law measures have been enacted by the legislator:

HB 5248: Removes barriers to obtaining a professional license for people who committed crimes that were not related to various professions. Licenses include those needed to be a barber or cosmetician, funeral director, dietitian, esthetician, social worker, art therapist, nail technician, architect, various trades, sanitary, gas technician, pesticide, accountant and security guard.

SB 210: While largely just technical changes to various labor laws, the bill eliminates single-year unemployment experience rate calculations for the years 2026 and 2027.

Lawmakers have approved legislation removing barriers to obtaining a professional license for those guilty of crimes.

This prevents the continuation of an unexpected issue resulting from a law enacted in the 2021 session that attempted to protect employers from a spike in experience rates related to the pandemic-induced spike in unemployment.

The fix based the calculation of the normal three-year experience rate on a single year, 2019. While this helped the vast majority of companies, a few were harmed as they had surprisingly high layoffs in 2019 and no layoffs during the pandemic.

HB 5442: studies the effects on certain companies which have seen their rate of experience increase despite the adoption of the law of public interest 21-5.

Mandates blocked

When it comes to measuring the success of CBIA’s representation on the Labor Committee, it is essential to examine what did not happen.

The committee proposed more than 25 mandates from the private sector this year. Here are some of the main bills stopped by the AABC:

HB 5245: Authorization for the delegation of non-profit organizations and unions to sue employers on behalf of employees who had agreed to settle disputes by arbitration and consolidate unrelated claims.

This bill is more commonly known as the Private Attorney General Act and has been devastating to businesses in California, the only state to enact it.

SB 317: Allowed striking employees to collect unemployment benefits after two weeks, despite the fact that they have not lost their jobs, are also not available for work or looking for another job as is the case for all other workers to receive benefits.

HB 5249: Invalidation of all non-competition agreements for non-exempt (hourly) employees, exempt workers earning at least three times the minimum wage, independent contractors earning less than five times the minimum wage, or if an employee subjectively believes that the employment relationship has ended for a good cause attributable to the employer.

HB 5353: Requirement for employers in the retail, restaurant or hospitality sectors that have 500 or more employees, or where all franchisees collectively have 500 or more employees, to provide 14 days notice to employees of their working hours. Any deviation from this schedule entails financial penalties for the employer.

SB 312: Expanding the state paid sick leave law to require all employers to give each employee up to five sick days per year and two weeks of COVID-19 leave.

SB 314: Requires employers in warehouses employing 100 or more employees to provide information about quotas or work speed requirements to employees and imposes various penalties on employers for violating OSHA requirements or failing to provide employees of the various documents requested.

HB 5246: Extended by one year a requirement that employers who employed but laid off after March 10, 2020 and individuals performing construction services or janitorial work, contracted on-site food preparation services, hotel services or who were a third-party contractor providing such services, contact that person by mail and text to inform them of available positions for which they are qualified.

HB 5439: makes a contractor responsible for the unpaid wages of a subcontractor.

HB 5444: Adds new unfair labor practices such as permanent replacement of a striking employee and establishes a schedule for representatives to begin initial negotiations after being elected or appointed.

HB5445: implements policies that promote hiring in state agencies, such as automatic renewal of vacancies and continuous recruitment.


For more information, contact the CFIA Eric Gjede (860.480.1784) | @egjede

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