AB 249: Public employers: employee organizations.

AFSCME strongly oppossed Assembly Bill 249 by Assembly Member Steven Choi which would have prohibited an employer from discouraging an employee or applicant from opting out of becoming or remaining a member of a union. The bill also prohibited employers from taking adverse action against employees who opt out of joining or remaining in a union.

The bill was unnecessary as California law already protects the decision of employees who elect to join or abstain from joining a union. Under current law, employers cannot legally take adverse actions against employees based on their decision to become a member of a union or not. The attempt of this bill to present itself as protecting the rights of workers to choose their representation is a distortion of facts.

This bill was another attempt to demonize public sector unions and the labor movement. For years there has been a concerted effort on the part of special interests to destroy the strongest institution for giving a voice to working people. Since the Janus v. AFSCME decision, advocates for the denigration of workers have been emboldened to place more constraints on the ability of unions to represent their members. Due to California’s established law on protecting the rights of employees to remain or abstain from a union, there could be no other motivation for why this bill would be drafted, other than for that stated reason.

AB 249 failed passage in the Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee.