SB 866 appears to be a fast-track omnibus bill responding to the anticipated decision in Janus v AFSCME. The bill was first introduced as a run-of-the-mill budget bill on January 10, 2018. However, it was amended on June 13, 2018, to make some very significant changes to the law. These changes apply to virtually all employers covered by PERB, including schools and community colleges, the State of California, University of California, California State University, Judicial Council and trial courts, cities, and counties. The changes in law include the following related to the dues deduction process:
- Employers must allow for payroll deductions for union dues;
- Any request to begin dues deductions or cancel dues deductions must be made to the union, and not the employer;
- The union is responsible for letting the employer know the amount of dues deductions for employees;
- The employer must accept the information provided by the union on dues deductions for employees;
- If a union states it has written authorization for begin deductions, it is not required to provide the employer a copy of the individual authorization unless a dispute arises about the existence or terms of the authorization.
- The union must indemnify the employer for any claims made by employees as a result of the payroll deductions.
In addition, SB 866 makes the following changes to the law with respect to communications from employers about dues deductions.
- If an employer “chooses to disseminate mass communications to public employees or applicants to be public employees concerning public employees’ rights to join or support an employee organization, or to refrain from joining or supporting an employee organization, it shall meet and confer with the exclusive representative concerning the content of the mass communication.”
- If the parties cannot reach agreement and the employer decides to go ahead with its proposed mass communication, it must also distribute a communication of reasonable length provided by the union.
Finally, this bill contains language similar to that in AB 2970 providing that, “The date, time, and place of [a new employee] orientation shall not be disclosed to anyone other than the employees, the exclusive representative, or a vendor that is contracted to provide a service for purposes of the orientation.”
Notably, these changes were only written into SB 866 last week. Yet the bill has already passed both the Assembly and Senate and has been ordered to “engrossing and enrolling.” Then it’s on to the Governor’s desk. Furthermore, this bill contains language making it effective immediately upon signing by the Governor.