AB 101 passes Assembly; heads to Brown's desk!
by Wendy Reid Crisp 9/14/2011 12:00:00 AM
UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 9, 2011: Lauren Rosenhall reports in the Sacramento Bee:
The Assembly is sending Gov. Jerry Brown a controversial bill that would unionize workers who receive state subsidies to care for children in their homes. Assembly Bill 101 cleared the lower house today, 48-23, after a lengthy debate. Republicans argued that unionizing home child care workers would hurt poor families because it would drive up their costs for hiring care. Democrats argued that child care workers deserve a seat at the table in negotiating with the state.
"We're not talking about mandated unionization, we're talking about respecting the abilty of these folks to form an association -- something that exists in 14 other states," said the bill's author, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. Pérez emphasized that the bill concerns only child care workers who receive state funds for looking after kids from low-income families. Republicans criticized the last-minute nature of the bill, which was made public Tuesday and cleared the Senate on Thursday night.
"This is the last day of the session, and to consider a bill like this to require mandatory unionization for an entire industry is really a stretch," said Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton. "This is a far reaching bill that's going to cost families in this state a lot of money that they don't have and we don't have."
Read the full Sacramento Bee Article here.
Previously reported on AB 101:
UPDATE, September 8, 2011: AB101 passed the state Senate tonight 23-15 and heads back to the Assembly.
Torey Van Oot, writing in the September 7, 2011 Fresno Bee, reports that Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's AB 101, sponsored by the American Federation of State Acounty and Municipal Employees, and the Service Employees International Union, is getting a "last-minute push" in Sacramento (opponents call it a "gut-and-amend proposal; it was inserted into an existing bill ahead of the final week of the legislative session). The bill calls for the right to organize the more than 40,000 family child-care providers operating in California.
[AB101]...would affect both licensed family child-care providers, who can care for children in their homes, and certain license-exempt providers, including grandparents, relatives and neighbors receiving state subsidies to care for one family.
Supporters say low wages and limited benefits have forced some home-based child-care providers to leave the profession, limiting access to care for working families...
Starting in 2014, unionized child-care providers could negotiate to increase reimbursement rates for state-subsidized child-care assistance, which have been frozen at 2005 levels due to budget constraints. Dues would come out of those subsidies, a setup one child-care advocate cautioned could limit options for low-income families who receive state aid.
"If providers really don't want to pay those fees or dues, they may say, 'I don't want to take child-care subsidy children,' " said Donita Stromgren, policy and member services director for the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Still, Stromgren said the move could be a win for providers and advocates who want to see home-based sitters stay in business. "With all of the budget cuts and all of the various traumas that providers have gone through, they certainly would benefit (on) some level (from) the clout that union organizers could provide to them," she said.
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