The California State Assembly passed a bill (AB 438) Friday that would make it more difficult for cities to outsource library services. The vote, on a mostly party line, was 41 to 25.
The League of California Cities and Library Systems & Services LLC, a Maryland-based outsourcing firm, have testified against the measure, which now moves on to the Senate. LSSI operates libraries in Camarillo, Moorpark, Redding/Shasta county, and Riverside county.
The proposal would require that “the contractor’s wages are at the industry’s level and do not undercut city or library district pay rates.” It also would prohibit savings arising solely “from lower contractor pay rates or benefits,” and the contract cannot cause “the displacement of city or library district employees,” which would include layoff, demotions, or involuntary transfers.
The bill reflects “the same kind of contracting out protections that are currently in the Education Code for schools, such as a fair cost analysis, competitive bidding, identifying the savings to the taxpayers, no job displacement, etc.,” the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, said according to the California Library Association’s blog.
The measure is backed by the Service Employees International Union, which represents many California library employees, the Ventura Readers’ Book Group, the California Labor Federal, the AFL-CIO and others.
“It has to do with protecting public employee jobs,” Assemblyman Chris Norby, R- Fullerton, told the Ventura County Star. “It will make it harder for cities to deliver library services, and it will mean fewer library services will be offered.” Republicans said the bill was a poor precedent for local government contracts, according to the CLA.