Majority Leader Reyes’ Bill to Extend Worker Protections to Classified School Employees is signed by Governor

Sacramento – AB 438 authored by Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes (D -San Bernardino) was signed into law by Governor Newsom.  AB 438 will standardize the layoff process and extend existing worker protection to school bus drivers, food service workers and other classified employees. This bill seeks to ensure workers receive equal treatment regardless of job title. 

During and before the pandemic, classified employees continued to play a critical role in the functioning of school campuses and our student’s wellbeing. Classified school employees are the lowest paid and the most diverse workforce on school campuses, it is crucial for they have equal access to rights given to their certificated counterparts. Currently, they can be laid off at any point in the year with just 60-day notice.

“Classified school employees are essential frontline workers at our school campuses and without their efforts school campuses would be unable to function,” Majority Leader Reyes continued, “AB 438 will expand parity on school campuses to ensure that all school employees receive appropriate fairness and due process.  I would like to thank Governor Newsom for signing this bill into law as part of his larger efforts to bring equity and inclusion to our educational system.”

“Classified staff have shown we are essential to the success of California schools by ensuring students have nutritious meals, safe learning environments, and extra academic help, even in the face of this pandemic, which is why we deserve the same job protections as teachers and school administrators. In the absence of these protections, thousands of classified staff were laid off last school year even though our schools retained full state funding. I want to thank Majority Leader Reyes for championing AB 438, which will finally provide school instructional aides, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other school classified staff the same layoff protections as our certificated and administrative colleagues.” Matthew “Shane” Dishman, Association President, California School Employees Association.

“Every student’s school day depends on the work of thousands of support professionals, from office workers to food service workers and custodians. In the absence of adequate workplace protections, more than 2,000 classified staff have been laid off since March, even though our schools have not lost state funding. This bill recognizes the hard work of these essential school employees by providing them with greater stability and professional rights as they strive to support their families,” said E. Toby Boyd, President, California Teachers Association.

“With AB 438’s approval, classified school staff now have a fair and equitable layoff process, and one that treats them with the same respect as their certificated colleagues,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. “We’re proud to stand with school employees in support of this important bill, and thank Assemblywoman Reyes for being a champion for educators and education workers every step of the way.”

“This is a monumental correction of a long-standing injustice for the dedicated classified employees of our school and community college systems. Classified employees are the backbone of our systems who keep our schools safe, clean, and operational with a potential lay-off always looming over their heads. The parity that AB 438 brings to our members will have districts treat classified employees with the same priority and respect as our teachers and faculty.” – California Federation of Teachers

 “Not all super heroes wear capes; some wear cafeteria service uniforms or classroom aide lanyards. Children learn best when they are nourished, connected to learning, and supported by a team of school professionals. SEIU members are classified school employees and many more are parents. We are grateful that the Legislature and Governor recognized that preparing, transporting, and handing out meals, transporting laptops and internet service, and cleaning classrooms and cafeterias are vital to student wellness and safety. AB 438 is a crucial step forward to ensure classified employees have the same rights afforded to other school professionals, including sufficient layoff notices and hearing rights, and we thank the Governor for signing this essential bill.” Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99 and Executive Board Members of SEIU California

This standardized the layoff process, extends worker protections to classified employees, and ensures equal protection for all school employees.

AB 438 becomes law on January 1, 2022

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