The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 13, 2012
California lawmaker writes 'Public Employees Bill of Rights'

Thumbnail image for 110304 Dickinson Randal Benton 2010.JPGAssemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento,(right) has introduced legislation that would give unionized state workers more workplace discipline protections and first dibs on state government work.

SEIU Local 1000 and the Union of American Physicians and Dentists support AB 1655, the "Public Employees Bill of Rights Act." Here's what it would do:

• Gives unionized state employees priority over outside contractors and excluded state workers to fill permanent, overtime and on-call positions.
• Sets a one-year statute of limitations for employers to take an adverse action against a state employee. (The current law allows disciplinary actions up to three years after the discovery of fraud, embezzlement or records falsification.)
• Establishes a peer review committee to provide workplace operations input.
• Guarantees that the state won't impose "unreasonable quotas" on employees.
Bans extra work created by vacancies, furloughs of layoffs without "fair compensation."
• Gives priority to workplace safety and health grievances.
• Explicitly bans workplace discrimination.
• Strengthens whistleblower protections.
• Requires employers exercise "preventive and corrective" actions before administering harsher employee discipline.
• Settles grievances in favor of the employee if the employer misses contractual deadlines for response.
• Defines protections and performance and merit evaluation processes for professionally licensed employees.
• Guarantees independent legal representation for professionally licensed workers named as codefendants in litigation against their employers.

According to a press release from Dickinson's office, the measure extends to unionized workers the same kind of employee rights found in the Peace Officer Procedural Bill of Rights, the Firefighter's Bill of Rights, and the Bill of Rights for "excluded" state employees.

The bill language won't be online until Tuesday. Thanks to Taryn Kinney in Dickinson's office for faxing the author's copy, which The State Worker (with help from Capitol Alert colleague Torey Van Oot) has posted below.
Assembly Bill 1655

PHOTO: Assemblyman Roger Dickinson / 2010 Sacramento Bee file, Randall Benton

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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


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