Assemblywoman Gonzalez Renews Effort to Empower CA Legislative Staff with the Right to Unionize

Monday, January 25, 2021

SACRAMENTO – (Monday, Jan. 25, 2021) – Today, California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced Assembly Bill 314 to extend the right for all employees of the Legislature to organize into a union if they choose in order to improve their wages, working conditions and bargain over other terms of their employment.

"Our legislative staff provide essential services to our constituents every day and work tirelessly to ensure we as elected officials can serve the people of California. Every other employee in the state has the right to organize their workplace and join a union if they choose — legislative staff should be no different," Assemblywoman Gonzalez said.

More than a third of state legislators (38 Assemblymembers, 6 Senators) have signed on as co-authors of Gonzalez’s legislation AB 314 to strengthen workplace rights for over 2,000 staff members. For a complete list of co-authors, visit: https://bit.ly/3qS1ZqZ 

AB 314 would cover all employees of the Legislature with the exception of elected members of the Legislature, appointed officers of the Legislature, and department or office leaders. The Chief Clerk of the Assembly, Secretary of the Senate, Chief Administrative Officers, Chief Sergeant-at-Arms, Chiefs of Staff, and Chief Consultants would also be excluded.

This is third time Assemblywoman Gonzalez has introduced a bill to make California the first state in the nation to allow all of its legislative staff to collectively bargain, as all other employees in California are able to do.

In 1977, the Legislature enacted the State Employer-Employee Relations Act to govern relations between the state government and executive branch employees. As a result, public employees in California were given a collective voice over their compensation, benefits and working conditions, with the exception of some state employees, including those employed by the Legislature.

Since then, the Legislature has continued to enact other collective bargaining laws for additional categories of public employees. In 2017, the Legislature approved AB 83 (Santiago) in 2017 that granted collective bargaining rights to Judicial Council employees. This leaves the Legislature as the only branch of government that has yet to grant their employees with the benefits and protections that come with the right to collectively bargain.

Legislative employees are exempt from collective bargaining and civil service rules, can be hired and fired at will, and lack many of the workplace protections laws that cover employees in private and public employment.

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Sami Gallegos: samantha.gallegos@asm.ca.gov