On October 10, 2023, Governor Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 1484 (2023) (“AB 1484”), supporting bargaining rights for temporary employees effective January 1, 2024. AB 1484 amends existing law under the Meyers-Millas-Brown Act (“MMBA”) to include Section 3507.7, which provides that temporary employees of cities and counties may be included in the same bargaining unit as permanent employees who perform similar work. (Gov. Code § 3500 et seq.)
Under existing law, the MMBA grants local public employees the authority to form, join, and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation on matters of labor relations. (Gov. Code § 3500 et seq.)
The MMBA states the governing body of a public agency must meet and confer in good faith with employee representatives regarding matters that fall within the scope of representation. A public employer’s duty to bargain under the MMBA arises under two circumstances: (1) when the decision itself is subject to bargaining, and (2) when the effects of the decision are subject to bargaining, even if the decision, itself, is nonnegotiable.” (El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff’s Assn. v. County of El Dorado (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 950, 956.) The scope of representation includes all matters relating to employment conditions and employer-employee relations. (Gov. Code § 3504). Effectively, the MMBA grants employees a platform for negotiating with employers on matters such as salaries, work hours, and other employment terms and conditions. (Gov. Code § 3504). Currently, the MMBA defines “public employee” to encompass any person employed by a public agency, including employees of fire departments and fire services of counties, cities and counties, districts, and other political subdivisions of the state, except a superior court, and persons elected by popular vote or appointed to office by the Governor. (Gov. Code § 3501; § 3501.5).
AB 1484 aims to bring equity to temporary employees who perform similar work as permanent employees but do not receive all the advantages provided to their permanent counterparts, such as retirement, health insurance, disability, job security, or union benefits. To that end, AB 1484 adds Gov. Code § 3507.7 to the MMBA, which broadly defines a temporary employee as “a temporary employee, casual employee, seasonal employee, periodic employee, extra-help employee, relief employee, limited-term employee, per diem employee, and any other employee who has not been hired for a permanent position.” The new section further specifies that the law will only apply to temporary employees who are “hired to perform the same or similar type of work that is performed by permanent employees.”
AB 1484 requires the following upon the request of the recognized employee organization to the public employer in regards to temporary employees who have been hired to perform the same or similar type of work that is performed by permanent employees represented by the recognized employee organization:
- Temporary employees shall be automatically included in the same bargaining unit as the permanent employees if temporary employees are not presently within the unit definition. This subparagraph does not require the same terms and conditions of employment for permanent and temporary employees.
- The public employer must engage in timely collective bargaining to determine wages, work hours, and employment conditions for the recently included temporary employees if these aspects are not covered in the current memorandum of understanding. The negotiated terms and conditions for temporary workers shall be included as an addendum to the existing memorandum of understanding.
- Thereafter, both permanent and temporary employees within the same bargaining unit should have their employment terms and conditions addressed in a unified memorandum of understanding. It is important to note that this provision does not mandate identical terms and conditions for permanent and temporary employees.
Additionally, AB 1484 requires the public employer to provide, upon hire, each temporary employee with their job description, wage rates, and eligibility for benefits, anticipated length of employment, and procedures to apply for open, permanent positions. The same information must be provided to the recognized employee organization within five business days of hiring the temporary employee. Moreover, when providing the employee organization with this information, the public employer must also provide the anticipated end date of employment for each temporary employee or actual end date if the temporary employee has been released from service since the last list was provided.
AB 1484 also requires that the following be within the scope of representation in bargaining units if the memorandum of understanding may lawfully address these subjects:
- Whether a temporary employee who subsequently obtains permanent employment receives seniority or other credit or benefit for their time spent in temporary employment shall be a matter within the scope of representation in bargaining units that include permanent employees.
- Whether a temporary employee receives a hiring preference over external candidates for permanent positions shall be a matter within the scope of representation in bargaining units that include temporary employees.
AB 1484 dictates that complaints alleging violations of its provisions shall be processed as unfair practice charges with the California Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”), pursuant to its powers under the MMBA. Any violation of Gov. Code § 3507.7 would be actionable as an unfair practice charge before PERB.
For more information about AB 1484, please contact Joseph Sanchez.
Authored by BBK Partner Joseph Sanchez
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