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Research Assistants Would Recieve Collective Bargaining Rights Under New Bill

The California legislature has expanded the definition of "employee" to include certain student employees who previously had been denied collective bargaining rights.

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Bill SB 259, passed by the California Senate Aug. 24, would give union rights to research assistants at California State University and the University of California, according to documents on the California Senate website.

Bill documents stated that "A majority of student employees employed by the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and the California State University have been granted the opportunity for collective bargaining under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA)" and that it was legislature's intent to preserve those existing rights as well as "to expand the definition of 'employee' under HEERA so as to include certain student employees who previously had been denied collective bargaining rights."

According to an article on MercuryNews.com, the bill would have a large impact, as the University of California on its own has 14,000 research assistants.

However, the website reported, the bill isn't yet set in stone as Repbulicans were against it, saying it would contribute to increasing post-secondary education costs. California governor Jerry Brown has until the end of next month to make a final decision on the bill.