Local 721 of the Service Employees International Union is the exclusive bargaining representative of all Los Angeles County employees. No one employee can even ask his or her boss for a raise. SEIU speaks on behalf of everyone, whether the employees want them to or not. I don't know. I've never been in a union.
But from the sounds of the requirements, I'm not sure I would like it, especially because just about everyone else thinks the union is more important than the employees.
That's the sum and substance of the most recent California Supreme Court ruling on the subject. Let me give you a quick rundown of the facts here. First, the SEIU wanted the County to provide the home addresses of all County employees, including those the Union doesn't represent.
Let's just cut to the chase. Our Supreme Court sided with the Union.
The County initially refused to provide its employees' home addresses. The LA County Employee Relations Commission decided that refusal was an unfair labor practice. The County sued. The Los Angeles County Superior Court then denied the County's petition for relief. The County appealed, and the appellate court held that the County must provide the home addresses of its employees, but imposed an "opt-out" procedure that would allow employees who had privacy concerns to not provide their home addresses to the Union.
The Union, at all times, was able to reach the employees it represented while they were at work.
After the appellate court ruling, however, the Union appealed to the California Supreme Court, which reversed the appellate court's opt-out procedure, saying that the "balance" between the Union's "right" to know and the employees' privacy tipped in favor of the Union "who represented them" - even though there are County employees who have opted out of union representation.
You be the judge here. Which is more important? Your privacy or your union?