Senate Bill 1364 That Would Limit Unified Communications Providers Is Wrong – Orange County Register

Senate Bill 1364, a bill the legislature just sent to the governor for his signature, would create substantial new barriers for small businesses that provide services to the University of California, one of the largest major state institutions and employers. Eliminating these potential providers would harm the UC system and its services to students and patients at its medical centers.

SB 1364 seeks to limit contract labor by placing onerous restrictions on any company that contracts for $1,000 or more to provide services to UC. These vendor restrictions are unnecessary: ​​UC Regents policy 5402 already limits the use of contracts for covered services.

Existing UC Regents policy also requires that UC be a model employer and only use contractors as a last resort to deal with temporary or emergency circumstances. In addition, the policy requires UC vendors to pay salaries and provide benefits that match the salaries and benefits that the system provides to its own employees for providing the same or similar services.

The restrictions that SB 1364 would impose are apparently aimed at enforcing UC’s pay and benefits parity policy. But UC already enforces this policy: it audits covered service providers for compliance, and failure to meet pay and benefit parity is grounds for contract termination. These are adequate safeguards to ensure that contract employees receive the same wages and benefits.

Additionally, SB 1364 would require vendors who have a contract of $1,000 or more to report their payroll information every six months to UC and any organization that is the exclusive representative of UC employees who perform similar services. This information would include the name, address, telephone number of each contracted employee, hours worked at UC and non-UC sites, and their salary.

Any UC employee or contracted employee could also sue suppliers for alleged violations. The bill requires courts to impose penalties ($100 to $14,000 per employee) on California companies, and it requires a five-year blacklist of vendors from holding contracts with UC, even whether their breach is minor or technical in nature.

These record-keeping requirements and the risk of costly litigation would discourage and discourage small businesses from entering into contracts with UC. It could cost the state jobs, especially in smaller communities where UC campuses are major employers, and negatively affect small businesses and their owners across California.

UC has been a significant source of revenue for these companies, spending more than $1 billion on goods and services with businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans with disabilities in fiscal year 2021. .

In addition, SB 1364 would apply to any work performed by any bargaining unit – not just units affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the union sponsoring the law Project. This misguided measure would also apply to providers of professional services, nursing, health care and potentially even the research enterprise.

If SB 1364 becomes law, it will affect UC classes, facilities, and health care delivery. For example, some medical centers sometimes need to contract specialized medical translation services in languages ​​that UC does not often encounter. If the translation providers do not work with UC, these patients may have to go elsewhere.

This legislation hurts California’s small businesses, key engines of the state’s economic growth. Small businesses (those with 500 or fewer employees) create two-thirds of new jobs in the state and employ nearly half of all private sector employees. In California, small businesses make up 99.8% of all businesses and employ more than 7 million workers.

We cannot afford to lose these vital services, and we should not place such onerous demands and litigation risks on the small businesses that are the backbone of our state’s economy.

We call on the Governor to reject SB 1364 so that small businesses can afford to continue providing contracted services to UC as needed.

Dick Ackerman co-chairs the California Coalition for Public Higher Education. Ackerman, a Republican, is a former state senator. Mel Levine co-chairs the California Coalition for Public Higher Education. Levine, a Democrat from Los Angeles, is a former congressional representative. They wrote this comment for CalMatters.

Norman D. Briggs