AB 378, signed into law on Sept. 30 by California Gov. Gavin Newsome is the latest brazen scheme by organized labor to skim the paychecks of publicly subsidized workers already struggling to make ends meet on modest wages.
In this case, the measure targets more than 40,000 childcare workers across California who predominately work in facilities funded by state dollars, although passage of the bill will not make them state employees.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) sponsored AB 378, which disingenuously sold to lawmakers by their legislative cronies in Sacramento as the final solution to a problem of their own creation.
Unlike private-sector businesses, the reimbursement rates for publicly funded childcare are set by the legislature. Business owners and their employees alike have argued the current reimbursement rates are too low to offer pay raises, resulting in an average hourly wage of $12 to these childcare workers.
The obvious answer is simply to increase the reimbursement rates, which would raise the workers’ pay and let them keep the entire raise in their own pockets. And since more than half of the workers are still forced to rely on public assistance to get by, the simple expedient of increasing their wages could result in a savings in other areas.
Such a solution would work for everyone except unions like SEIU, who’ve grown accustomed to wetting their beaks in the paychecks of even underpaid workers. If history is any indication, the childcare providers can expect to be handing over something like $40 a month to the union — about what they’d pay for a cell phone plan, just for comparison.
The common term for this brand of corruption is “graft,” and it’s as old as politics itself. Rather than simply allocating X number of dollars to cover a pay raise for the childcare workers, lawmakers — the majority of whom in California, by the way, owe their jobs to organized labor — agree to a solution that costs the taxpayers X plus the union’s share.
The only real beneficiary in this scheme is the union, which gains 40,000 new dues-paying members in return for nothing more strenuous than negotiating a contract every few years with the same politicians who made the whole arrangement legal in the first place after being paid off with someone else’s union dues.
Within hours of AB 378 being signed into law, Child Care Providers United (CCPU) launched a website and began collecting authorization cards. CCPU is a coalition of several unions, including SEIU and the United Domestic Workers of America (UDW), which collectively presume to represent more than 1 million employees across California.
Not all hope is lost, though, for childcare providers who don’t want a big union breathing down their neck or reaching into their wallet. They can still decline to sign authorization cards. And, even if CCPU’s union election campaign is successful, workers can still opt out of dues payments thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling in Harris v. Quinn.
If you’re a childcare provider who wants to keep your voice and your money, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help. The Freedom Foundation stands ready to defend your First Amendment rights.