Governor Newsom has signed AB 378, the California Child Day Care Facilities Act, which allows child care workers who care for families that receive child care subsidies from the state to unionize. In a Sacramento Bee article, supporters of AB 378 claim that over 40,000 child care workers will be covered by this new law.
AB 378 represents the first expansion of PERB’s jurisdiction beyond public employees. Many “perbs” in other states already cover both public employees and some private sector employees excluded by the National Labor Relations Act. PERB now joins these other states.
Notably, AB 378 appears designed to permit bargaining between unions and the State of California, and not between unions and the employers of the child care workers. Also, the scope of representation is limited. For example, the scope of representation does not include wages and hours, but does include reimbursement rates from the State, payment procedures and “other economic matters.”
Relevant to public employers is that the California Child Day Care Facilities Act makes it an unfair practice for any public agency to discriminate against a child care worker for protected activities. The same prohibition applies to the employers of child care workers. The law also requires employers of covered child care workers to allow union access to employee orientations and contains restrictions on the issuance of “mass communications” to employees regarding their right to unionize.
There are also many other aspects of this new law that I will try to cover in future posts. Suffice to say, the fact that PERB now has jurisdiction over some private sector employees represents a new chapter in PERB’s history.