The Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee this morning passed AB 1592, a measure that if lawmakers ratify it would make recently reached labor agreements binding for 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 bill also continuously appropriates wages for employees represented by those unions, in keeping with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's promise to shield them from any minimum-wage action triggered by a budget impasse:
This bill would, in the event that the annual Budget Act is not enacted prior to July 1 of each year covered by the memoranda of understanding for State Bargaining Units 5, 8, 12, 16, 18, and 19, provide for a continuous appropriation for the amount necessary for the payment of compensation and benefits to members of those bargaining units.
The measure passed on a 6-0 vote. It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee and from there to the Senate floor. If it gains the two-thirds votes required for passage of an urgency measure, it will go back to the Assembly for a two-thirds concurrence vote and then on to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk for a signature.
Another amended bill, SB 846, covers the labor deals and minimum-wage protections for Units 5 (California Association of Highway Patrolmen), 12 (International Union of Operating Engineers) and 18 (California Association of Psychiatric Technicians). It's being heard this afternoon by the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee.