HCAOA has filed litigation in an attempt to block California’s home care registry law that gives home care workers’ personal contact information to unions. While we lost our case in a lower court, we filed an appeal and on January 12, oral argument in the AB 2455 appeal in the Ninth Circuit was held. Maury Baskin from the Littler firm argued the case on behalf of HCAOA to a three-judge panel consisting of two Obama appointees and one Reagan appointee. Attorneys for the State and the SEIU argued in opposition, challenging both HCAOA’s standing to sue and also denying that the Act was preempted by federal labor law.
The judges were engaged and understood the issues. They asked questions about the extent of the injury to the Association members and their employees. One of the Obama-appointed judges pressed the State hard as to why it was not clear from the face of the law that employers would be harmed, without having to identify individual companies’ specific harms beyond the obvious State assistance to union organizing.
On the merits of labor law preemption, the judges explored various hypotheticals of State actions that might or might not be preempted. As in our briefs, we argued that AB 2455 cannot stand because the State is abusing its authority as a regulator of the home care industry to put its thumb on the carefully balanced scales of federal labor disclosure rules, with the explicit intent to help unions organize. We pointed out that State conduct of this sort has been found to be preempted in previous decisions.
The Court took the case under advisement, and we now must wait for the decision, which could take as little as a month or two, or as long as a year. Stay tuned for updates.