The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 19, 2010
Bills coming soon to protect six unions from minimum wage

cal fire badge.JPGWe're hearing that two bills to ratify the minimum wage protections promised to the six bargaining units that have reached tentative agreements with the administration will be published by the end of this week.

Thumbnail image for chp badge.JPGAssembly Bill 1592 by Democrat Assembly members Joan Buchanan (author), Alyson Huber and Pedro Nava (co-authors) will be amended to carry Bargaining Units 8 (California Department of Forestry Firefighters), 16 (Union of American Physicians and Dentists) and 19 (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

The measure, which currently includes just BU 19, has already cleared an Assembly Floor vote. Look for the Senate to ammend it to cover BUs 16 and 19 and to change it into a bill that would immediately become law with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature. Assuming the Senate passes the measure, it would return to the Assembly for a concurrence vote and then go on to the governor.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 653, by Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, will be amended to carry Bargaining Units 5 (California Association of Highway Patrolmen), 12 (International Union of Operating Engineers) and 18 (California Association of Psychiatric Technicians).

None of those units was is named in the current measure, but they'll be added this week. Assuming it clears the Assembly, the bill will go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote and then to Schwarzenegger's desk.

Splitting the fire and patrol units is no accident. The provisions were all lumped together because both the Senate and the Assembly wanted to carry a bill. So, after noting that Republicans twice killed SEIU Local 1000's tentative agreement last year, the political calculus this time is to link the CAHP and CDFF minimum wage provisions with those of bargaining units that have less political pop.

Meanwhile, Senate talks continue over Assembly Bill 1699, which would shield all state employees' pay from minimum wage during a budget impasse by making the funds a continuous appropriation.

From what we understand, Democrats are going to offer to make obligations to many vendors a continuous appropriation, hoping that will win over Republicans who for years have blocked similar wage appropriation measures. Right now, private businesses don't get paid for goods or services that they provide during a budget impasse until a deal gets done.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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