SB 556 sponsored by unions to label non-public employees doesn’t go far enough. The bill requires that subcontractors who are hired to perform labor or service for a government agency wear a label that reads: “Not a Government Employee.” Any vehicle used in service of government must also be labeled: “The Operator of this Vehicle is Not a Government Employee.”
The unions behind the bill carried by Senator Ellen Corbett say the public must have the means to distinguish between government employees and non-government employees. To which the Sacramento Bee asks in a dismissive editorial, “We would be curious to know which members of the public are clamoring for more signage in their lives so they can distinguish between contractors and true public employees. Is there a petition drive we missed? Have there been mass rallies at the Capitol on this cause that have escaped our attention?”
There’s more to this seemingly needless bill that meets the eye, of course. It is all about a union power play to influence and control whom performs public services. The bill, which has cleared the senate, was described by the Bee editorial as a “sad example of how legislative Democrats can’t say no to their main benefactor, public employee unions, even at the expense of the voters they represent.”
Local governments and business groups oppose the bill. Local governments argue that not only is the use of logos and labels a matter of local control, but identifying a contractor with a government agency serves the purpose of allowing members of the public to know which department or agency the contractor is associated.
If the legislature is going to insist on a label on a contractor’s uniform then it should carry a full acknowledgement. “Not a Government Employee, Not Receiving Better Pension Benefits than the General Public, and Not Squeezing the City Budget.”