Language was amended into SB 878 Wednesday night. That’s nothing new. What’s interesting about SB 878 is that the new amendments amount to one of the worst examples of closed door, last minute favor giveaways to political allies that I’ve seen in my decade-long career under the dome.

The Governor’s office took an budget committee trailer bill and is using it to push a new law requiring In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers to attend an “in-person onsite orientation” given by members of the “recognized union in the each county” for “up to 30 minutes.”

So, new IHSS workers will be required to listen to a union sales pitch. Not shocking. 

What is shocking is that the Governor would allow his allies to circumvent the will of the Supreme Court and charge this orientation time to taxpayers.

The United States Supreme Court decided in Harris vs Quinn last month that collection of an “agency fee” from home health care providers who do not wish to join or support a union is illegal. In plain English, the highest court of the land decided forcing non-union members to pay a fee to fund union activities is not okay. Much like I opt out of cable at home and prefer not to pay a fee so my neighbor can have cable. I don’t have access to the purported benefits so I’d prefer not to pay for someone else to access purported benefits or that company’s lobbying activities that I may or may not agree with. Okay, maybe cable is a bad example I don’t want Comcast’s lobbyist in my office upset with me, but point understood.

Go Supreme Court. Workers want to spend every dime they earn on their own priorities, not someone else’s.

Now that the analogies are done, here’s where the “but wait, there’s more!” moment comes: because the “orientation” will be mandated by law, taxpayers are on the hook for it. Yes taxpayers, you are paying for the union to give potential members an in-person sales pitch to join them and pad their coffers. Lucky you!

Looking ahead, if the Legislature passes SB 878 (since it’s a shell there’s no name, I shall bestow SB 878 the title of “Forced Union Sales Pitch bill) what message does that send the nation?

Passing the Forced Union Sales Pitch bill tells our country that court rulings mean nothing to union bosses and their buddies at the helm of state governments. Why care about the people’s court? It’s clear unions will just get the Governor to force people to sit through union recruiting sessions, potentially against their will by making it a new law.

This is potentially the worst of the worst moves we’ve seen this legislative session.  If the Forced Union Sales Pitch bill passes the Governor will have undermined the courts to give his buddies a boost at the expense of workers.

The Forced Union Sales Pitch bill was heard for the first time in Assembly Budget committee yesterday. It passed on a party line with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposed.  Assemblywoman Shannon Grove rightfully spoke on the audacity of unions to push this with the Governor’s help and undermine the Supreme Court at the expense of taxpayers.

The Forced Union Sales Pitch bill will go to the Assembly today. I can predict the votes. What I cannot predict is how they will be justified.