Governor Signs Legislation Protecting Workers’ Paychecks
SB 954 requires employees to give consent before employers can deduct a portion of wages for use by contractor associations
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown today signed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, that requires employees to give their consent before employers can deduct wages from their paychecks for industry advancement programs.
SB 954 clarifies the list of deductions an employer can count to reduce hourly wages, without prior consent from employees. The bill excludes wage credits for employer payments for industry advancement unless it is part of a bargained agreement.
“I thank the Governor for signing this straightforward legislation that ensures workers have control of their hard-earned wages,” Hertzberg said. “Workers should have a say over how their money gets spent.”
Contractors on public works projects are required to pay their employees at least the prevailing wage, which is also known as the per diem wage. Current law allows several fringe benefit payments that can be taken as a credit against the obligation to pay cash wages, including for healthcare, pension contributions, vacation and other benefits, such as apprenticeship training and other industry advancement programs.
However, sometimes industry advancement funds are used to support activities that are contrary to the interests of workers, such as efforts to weaken health and safety standards. SB 954 makes clear that any wage reductions made for industry advancement causes must be approved as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
The collective bargaining process is essential to a level playing field between management and labor by giving workers a strong voice and seat at the negotiating table, so that any payments that reduce workers’ wages are actually in the interests of workers.
The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) sponsored the legislation.
SBCTC President Robbie Hunter said: “We thank Governor Brown for signing Senator Hertzberg's legislation that not only protects the wages workers have rightfully earned, but ensures that when deductions are authorized, workers and their unions have had a fair say in determining their use for the best interests of construction workers.”
Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map at http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district. After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew LaMar
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814