Skinner’s SB 1085 Retains Leave Time for Union Leaders 

September 30, 2018

On Friday, Governor Brown signed SB 1085 into law, State Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) bill that requires public employers to allow a reasonable leave of absence to employees that serve as officers or stewards of their union.

“SB 1085 allows union officers to take the leave time they need to represent their fellow workers without a loss of pay or benefits and at no cost to their public employer,” said Skinner. 

Workers enjoy better pay and working conditions when they are represented by a union. A 2018 review by UC Berkeley found that California workers employed under a union contract earned 12.9 percent more than demographically similar workers in the same industry who did not enjoy the benefit of a union contract. The same review found that being represented by a union increased the likelihood that a worker would have employer-covered health insurance by 37 percent. 

Those better conditions come as a result of the collective bargaining process where a worker’s peer, serving as an officer or shop steward to the local union, negotiates at the bargaining table. Securing the right to the time away from regular job duties that is necessary to fulfill a shop steward’s union duties is what SB 1085 ensures. Under SB 1085, public employers are held harmless and reimbursed for the full value of the time union leaders take off to perform their duties. 

“SB 1085 is another demonstration of California’s support for public servants and the unions that represent them,” said Skinner. 

Senator Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) represents the 9th Senate District. She serves as Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.