Governor Brown Signs Historic Law Valuable New Tool for Construction Unions
September 12, 2014 - Governor Jerry Brown this week signed into law Assembly Bill 1522 (by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego), which requires that California workers be allowed three paid sick days per year. This historic bill will help more than 6 million working people who now lose wages if they stay home when sick. The Legislature and Governor Brown are to be commended for their courageous decisions to make the health and financial security of workers a top priority.
Importantly, the bill contains a special exemption for the construction industry that provides flexibility for unions to negotiate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with employers. A State Building and Construction Trades Council (SBCTC) amendment allows our unions to voluntarily opt out of the provisions of AB 1522. This means that as construction industry CBAs expire after the law takes effect on January 1, 2015, unions, through negotiations with employers, can agree to opt out. This gives maximum flexibility to the parties negotiating new CBAs in the construction industry, and provides very valuable leverage for unions that are negotiating with employers.
SBCTC legislative advocates worked hard to win passage of this bill, and we thank the Governor and those legislators who stood with the Building Trades in support.
SBCTC President Robbie Hunter commented: “AB 1522 provides multiple important benefits for the first time by state law: paid sick leave for workers who need it, as well as a powerful new negotiating tool for construction unions. It is long overdue and a great victory for California workers.”
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