Meal Periods Bill – Action Request by forrests

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									Meal Periods Bill – Action Request

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CDTOA Members Lee Brown April 1, 2009 SB 287 (Calderon) SUPPORT LETTERS

The need to continue to reform California’s complicated and costly meal and rest period requirements laws has never been more important. Again, this year, Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) has introduced legislation to reform the meal and rest period requirements. The bill, SB 287 will be heard on April 22 in the Senate Labor Committee, so action is needed quickly to help pass this important bill.

Update:
 SB 287 is sponsored by an industry coalition, led by the California Chamber of Commerce and CDTOA is among many other organizations. Although other bills have been introduced, SB 287 is the coalition bill that we are focusing our efforts on so far. SB 287 is similar to Sen. Calderon’s bill from last year. It does 3 things: 1) clarifies what it means “to provide,” a meal and rest period; 2) includes an “on-duty” provision for when “...transportation or delivery of the product, will be destroyed or damaged if the employee is relieved of all duty”; and 3) allows for the inclusion of meal and rest period provisions in collective bargaining agreements. It is a comprehensive solution. We would like to add to 2) above - includes an “on-duty” provision for when “...transportation or delivery of the product, will be destroyed or damaged or will disrupt or impede the flow of work on the project, if the employee is relieved of all duty”; Change Section 512(d)(4) to: The work product, or processing of the product,

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including the transportation or delivery of the product, will be destroyed or damaged or will disrupt or impede the flow of work on the project if the employee is relieved of all duty.
 The bill will be considered on April 22 in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.

What You Can Do:
   Send letters to the members of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee and your State Senator(s). A sample letter and contact information are attached below. Letters can be sent by e-mail, fax, or the old-fashioned way. Please add to the letter as necessary information about your company and impacts of current law. The sample letter is geared mainly to address impacts to construction trucking companies and would need to adjust accordingly, if that not you. If you are in the district of one of the six Senators on the Labor & Industrial Relations Committee, schedule a meeting with them prior to April 22 (We may also be contacting those companies directly to encourage this). It’s Time to Act! Send letters and schedule district meeting snow!!

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YOUR LETTER HEAD
Date The Honorable Mark DeSaulnier Chair, Labor & Industrial Relations Committee California State Senate P.O. Box 942848 Sacramento, CA 94248-0001 Re: SB 287 (Calderon) - Support Dear Senator DeSaulnier: (Insert company name) strongly supports SB 287 (Calderon), a comprehensive solution to meal and rest period requirements in California. (Our company.... provides… a description of your company, its operations, locations, and ways you have been adversely impacted by the meal and rest period rules). The numerous amendments to the meal and rest period rules have adversely impacted our ability to comply with the meal and rest period regulation. The perishable nature of some construction commodities and the demands of construction project scheduling and operations simply make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for trucking companies to comply with rigid schedules set forth in the current regulations. Delivery of asphalt and other construction commodities like rock, gravel, sand and dirt must be accomplished as scheduled. The flow of work on construction projects and construction schedules are tight and many times run continuously. Drivers are responsible for their trucks and cannot leave them unattended, especially when they contain perishable products like concrete and asphalt. Plus, due to project safety and legal parking concerns, drivers cannot just pull their truck over anywhere, get out and find somewhere to rest or eat. Truck parking is a national problem and in California it’s a huge problem. At the same time, there are in most cases opportunities during the course of the day for drivers to take breaks while waiting for trucks to load or unload or while back at the plant, loading site or in a queue line. Historically, lunch and breaks for truck drivers have been addressed by more flexible arrangements, such as an on-duty meal periods agreed to by the driver and employer. Current law has not only created operational challenges, but has created much wasteful and costly employee time management overhead for companies. And it requires companies to schedule around meal and rest periods and if they or the driver is one minute out of compliance with these rules, the companies face numerous types of lawsuits. Even with legal settlements, there remain concerns about potential financial liability. At the same time, employees have been provided less flexibility and longer working days. In our view, this bill offers some solutions for both union and non-union operations, employer and employee alike. First, it would allow the employer and employee to agree in writing for on-duty meal periods for employees involved in the delivery of important construction commodities. In endorsing this bill, we believe it is particularly important that it provides a comprehensive solution for all parties involved to construction. We respectfully request your support for SB 287. We need to rebuild this state’s infrastructure now! Sincerely,

(Your Name Here)

Employees and Employers Need Clarification To Complex Meal Period Laws Support SB 287 (Calderon)
Courts are Unanimous: Employees Are Entitled to Meal Breaks
An employer has an obligation to make meal breaks available, but not to force employees to take them (Brown v. Federal Express Corp.). An employee’s interest protected by the meal-break provisions is the right to be free of the employer’s control during the meal period (Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions).

Businesses are Being Sued Everyday
According to Courthouse News Services, more than 1,500 meal period lawsuits - more than one per day, were filed between January 2005 and December 2008. Sampling of Costly Lawsuit Settlements:
                Casual Dining Restaurant Company Fast Food Retailer Small Restaurant Group Financial Marketing and Service Holding Company Leading National Retailer Financial Services Company Hospital Hospital Lingerie and Beauty Products Retailer Membership Warehouse Club Retail Store Refinery Wholesale Baker Technology Services Company Package Delivery Company Ready Mix Concrete (3) Construction Trucking Companies (4) $ 10 million $ 5 million $ 2.5 million $ 30 million $ 30 million $ 13.6 million $ 20 million $ 60 million $ 41.25 million $ 7.5 million $ 8.1 million $ 8 million $ 26 million $ 487 million $ 1.3 million/$2.5 million/$850,000 $ 2.5 million

The Time is NOW to Eliminate Confusion and Costly Lawsuits!
California employers need clarity and guidance in order to comply, and to know that they have complied with meal period laws. This solution must:  Clarify what it means to “provide” a meal period so employees have the opportunity to take meal breaks, but employers need not force the employee to take it;  Authorize on-duty meal period agreements in appropriate situations; and  Permit collective bargaining for meal periods provisions. The difficulties of enforcing a meal period policy have proven extremely burdensome and problematic for California businesses. It requires constant supervision, and is often difficult to get employees to comply, creating unproductive workplace situations and unhappy employees. California businesses want a comprehensive solution to serve employers and employees across all industries, regardless of size or union status. A stronger economy begins with supporting the ability of businesses to succeed.
Sponsored by: California Chamber of Commerce, California Manufacturers & Technology Association, California Restaurant Association, California Retailers Association, The Employers Group, California Farm Bureau Federation


								
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