The Personnel System Reform Act (PSRA) provides for collective bargaining of wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment with classified employees of state agencies and higher education institutions. Employees covered by the PSRA include all state civil service employees, unless an exemption applies. One such exemption is for confidential employees. Confidential employees include employees who assist assistant attorneys general who: 1) advise and represent managers or confidential employees in personnel or labor relations matters, or 2) advise or represent the state in tort actions.
In 2019, the Legislature granted assistant attorneys general the right to collectively bargain under the PSRA.
Assistants to assistant attorneys general who advise or represent the state in tort actions are removed from the definition of confidential employee in the PSRA, granting them the right to collectively bargain.
PRO: The pandemic has led to budget cuts and employees want to be represented to have a voice in how cuts take place. An obscure law prevents professional staff in the Torts Division from collective bargaining. Budget constraints have led to turnover and people with institutional knowledge leaving because employees are paid more in the private sector.
PRO: This broadens the scope of the bill that was passed last year. There is an obscure provision that captures 88 professional employees in the torts division of the Attorney Generals Office that excludes them from collective bargaining. This fixes it.
OTHER: If collective bargaining rights are expanded, three things should also happen: employee rights should be protected regarding union dues and membership; employees should be guaranteed the right to vote by secret ballots; and collective bargaining should be done in a transparent way.