Assembly Bill 1250 is bad policy no matter how you try to explain it.
Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, a former union official and AB 1250’s author, wants to see every person working on the public’s behalf become a public employee. Specifically, counties would be required to hire all the people landscaping county parks, counseling jail prisoners or mental health patients, cleaning courthouses, providing emergency medical services, tutoring and many more.
He says union workers could do those jobs better, a claim we find highly dubious. But once hired, they’d likely join a union, the SEIU in particular. And that’s the real motivation behind the bill.
Being required to hire that many more employees would bankrupt many counties. Or, it would require county supervisors to choose which services to continue providing and which ones to curtail.
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On the flip side, AB 1250 would also deprive thousands of people working for private firms of their jobs. Employees and volunteers of non-profits now providing life-saving or life-altering help also could be dismissed. Once gone, there’s no guarantee the services they provide would ever be resumed.
What happens when after-school programs conducted by The Boys & Girls Club disappear? How about the services to the homeless and elderly performed by Catholic Charities or the Salvation Army? What happens if the Haven Women’s Center can’t carry out its mission to help battered women or the Howard Training Center in helping those with developmental issues?
It’s a loss for employees of private companies and non-profits; a loss for counties; a loss for volunteers. Worse, it’s a loss for residents who depend on vulnerable essential services.
The bill likely will be voted on Thursday. If it passes the Senate, consequences could be dire for a long list of non-profit service providers in Stanislaus County. The same is true in Merced and San Joaquin counties.
That’s why non-profits leaders from across the state “combed through” AB 1250 trying to find some sort of compromise. They couldn’t.
“Frankly, so many of the provisions are confusing, vague and unfeasible” that it was impossible to find any room to negotiate, they wrote in an open letter.
Among the dozens of non-profit executives signing it were 11 from the Northern San Joaquin Valley – including Cynthia Duenas at the Center for Human Services, Karen Williams at LearningQuest, May Rico at Haven and Leslie McGowan of Livingston Community Health. They joined dozens more from Los Angeles to Redding.
The list of statewide organizations opposing AB 1250 is too long to show here, but it includes the California District Attorneys Association, State Sheriffs’ Association, Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, County Welfare Directors Association and the California State Association of Counties. (For a full list got to http://stopab1250.com/.)
Simply put, this won’t work here.
It also won’t work in Santa Clara or San Francisco counties. Why? Because the bill’s author cut a deal to exempt them.
Huh? Two of the richest counties in California don’t have to conform?
This makes no sense, unless you have a deep understanding of political sausage making. What little we know about that process is that it often makes a mess. And this bill would leave a terrible mess in Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties.
The Assembly passed AB 1250 despite no votes from Adam Gray and Heath Flora. We hope Senators Anthony Cannella and Cathleen Galgiani can keep it from passing the Senate.