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SB 191 – Implements Temporary Alternative Union Access Provisions For New Employee Orientations; Permits Waiver By Mutual Agreement
SB 191, a budget trailer bill, makes statutory changes to implement various provisions of the state budget relating to labor, workforce, and employment policy. Among numerous other changes, SB 191 makes two changes to the Prohibition on Public Employers Deterring or Discouraging Union Membership (PEDD), which is one of the statutes under the jurisdiction of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), and applicable to all public employers. As a budget trailer bill, SB 191 took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature on June 30, 2022.
Under current law, the PEDD requires public employers to give a recognized exclusive labor representative access to its new employee orientations, with at least 10 days advance notice in most cases, and with the details to be determined by mutual agreement. SB 191 adds a provision allowing that agreement to expressly waive or modify the statutory requirements.
SB 191 also adds temporary provisions to the PEDD for situations where new employee orientations may be affected by remote working or public health restrictions.
Where a public employer has not conducted an in-person new employee orientation within thirty days of a newly hired employee’s start date, and the new employee is working in person, the exclusive representative has a right to schedule an in-person meeting at the worksite during working hours. During that meeting, the exclusive representative shall be permitted to communicate directly with newly hired employees in the applicable bargaining unit for up to 30 minutes. The newly hired employees must be allowed paid time off, and relieved of other duties, for attending the meeting. On receiving a request from the exclusive representative, public employers must provide an appropriate on-site meeting space within seven calendar days. Employers may, but are not required to, provide more than 30 minutes of paid time to newly hired employees.
In cases where a local public health agency has issued an order limiting the size of gatherings, the exclusive representative has the right to schedule multiple meetings to ensure each newly hired employee can attend without exceeding the maximum allowable number of people. If the order prohibits all gatherings, the exclusive representative has the right to schedule the meeting (or meetings) once the order is lifted or modified to permit gatherings. The details of this alternative access are to be determined through mutual agreement.
These temporary provisions remain in effect only until June 30, 2025, and are automatically repealed on that date.
(SB 191 amends Section 3556 of the Government Code, as well as various other statutory provisions.)