When we heard that Assembly Speaker John Perez and Senate President Darrell Steinberg were working together on a bill in the late hours of the legislative session, we expected it would be bad. If the education trailer bill that they folded into this year's budget in the dead of night was any indication, we guessed it would be an early Christmas present to organized labor. And if this report from the Sacramento Bee is any indication, we were right.
According to the Bee, the new provisions in AB 101 would allow unions to organize home-based family child care providers. No, really, it would. If it becomes law, both licensed child care providers and license-exempt providers like neighbors and grandparents who are receiving state subsidies would be able to organize and participate in collective bargaining. That's right: if you're a poor Californian whose grandmother helps out by watching your kids when you're at work, you could soon have a labor union stepping between you and your grandmother. The problem the bill is intended to solve? "Limited or no employment benefits and low wages can drive dedicated child care providers from the profession." Never mind that the extraction of union dues from the state's reimbursements could drive many providers from the profession as well. Are we really expected to believe that the low-income families that receive these subsidies are going to be able to pay higher fees and benefits to the people who help take care of their kids?
Once again, it's good to see that Steinberg is hard at work on fixing California's hostile business climate.