California legislators always act as though they care about protecting the personal information of Californians, unless of course, there’s a political or financial reason to go against their core value – which is exactly what’s happening to cause a lawmaker and union to propose a new law which violates caregiver privacy.
An Article written by Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee sums it up in the headline, “In the name of helping workers, this bill would strip them of basic privacy.”
Put basically, Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, has an Assembly Bill 1513 that would “require that employees of private firms, who care for elderly and infirm people in their homes, must divulge their cellphone numbers, mailing addresses and email addresses to unions that seek to organize them.”
The Assemblyman claims the whole purpose is for the unions to be able to provide more training to the caregivers, but that’s a patronizing falsehood. Our caregivers have wonderful and adequate training, at least 12 hours a year ongoing. I can’t name a single caregiver who wants more training or less privacy.
It’s a veiled attempt at using power to support a special interest, the SEIU Union, which gives millions of dollars to lawmakers every year, and helped finance the campaign of Assemblyman Kalra.
Home Care agencies across the state are speaking out for their employees, posting comments on the newspaper article and asking lawmakers to do what’s right, now what they are paid by special interest groups to do. Our employees have no interest in having their personal information handed out to the highest bidder.
The SEIU is the same union which has made 24-Hour Care too expensive for most elderly people, causing caregivers to lose their 24 hour shifts because lawmakers are too afraid to add a “sleep time” deduction that would allow the caregiver to not be paid while they slept overnight. This is what most other states allow, and the Federal Wage Orders allow for sleep time deductions, as well. However, California lawmakers refuse to correct this flaw in our state wage orders, out of fear of upsetting the union. As the minimum wage goes up, caregivers will lose these coveted 24 hour shifts and see their pay drop. That’s not union protection.
This is what I wrote in response to the Sacramento Bee article. I’m urging state Lawmakers to stop the assault on caregiver privacy.
I am not comfortable with personal employee information being shared unless it’s for public safety reasons under subpoena from appropriate authorities. That is real protection. To claim that this bill is about training is creating an obviously false sales-pitch. No one really buys that. It’s a self serving bill with no true public interest and to insinuate otherwise is patronizing. More elected officials need to take the long view, what’s best for California and our workers. No hard working caregiver wants her cell phone, address and employer published – and to say otherwise strikes me as a lack of respect for the amazing work caregivers do to help people. California caregivers deserve better than this thinly veiled assault on their privacy rights.