"(A) No employer shall employ any person for a work period of more than five (5) hours without a meal period of not less than thirty (30) minutes, except that when a work period of not more than six (6) hours will complete the days work the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of employer and employee. In case of employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement, the parties to the collective bargaining agreement may agree to a meal period that commences after no more than six (6) hours of work."
The IWC received public comment regarding the above amendment primarily from NUMMI representative Ann ORegan. Ms. ORegan explained that NUMMI and the UAW believe that, in situations where there is a valid collective bargaining agreement in which the union and management have agreed to extend the work time from five hours to no more than six hours before employee meal periods are required, there would be no problems for employees and the interests of all parties to the agreement would be served. She further suggested that the joint request of NUMMI and the UAW satisfies the provisions of Labor Code section 512(b).
In addition, Ms. ORegan referred the IWC to Wage Orders 12 and 16 as precedent for the request. She stated that Wage Orders 12 and 16 cover a significant number of employees that are subject to collective bargaining agreements. Wage Order 12 provides that employees must receive a meal period of from thirty (30) minutes to no more than one (1) hour after working six (6) hours, and a subsequent meal period not later than six (6) hours after the termination of the preceding meal period. Wage Order 16 exempts employees from the thirty (30) minute meal period entirely, if the employees are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of the employees, and if the agreement provides premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked and a regular hourly rate of pay for those employees of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage.
In response to the NUMMI/UAW request, the IWC conducted a preliminary investigation in accordance with Labor Code sections 1173, 1178, and 1178.5. During the public meeting held August 24, 2001, the IWC advised Ms. ORegan that the recent enactment of Senate Bill 1208 clarified the provisions of Labor Code section 514 regarding the effect of collective bargaining agreements on the State wage and hour law requirements. Employees covered by valid collective bargaining agreements are not subject to the daily overtime and alternative workweek provisions of Labor Code sections 510 and 511only, "if the agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of the employees, and if the agreement provides premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked and a regular hourly rate of pay for those employees of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage." Thus, employees and employers covered by valid collective bargaining agreements must still comply with the meal period and other working conditions requirements of the Labor Code and the IWCs wage orders. The IWC advised Ms. ORegan that, in order to convene a wage board, it would need more evidence from employees. IWC Chair Bill Dombrowski stated . . . "I mean, what were saying is we need more evidence from employees that they are being harmed by this [meal period] provision. And we havent seen that yet."
At the public hearing held October 29, 2001, Ms. ORegan appeared with UAW attorney Jonathan Weissglass. Mr. Weissglass advised the IWC that the UAW fully joined in NUMMIs request to amend Section 11 of Wage Order 1. The IWC thereafter held a public hearing on the proposed amendment to Section 11. Ms. ORegan and a representative of the UAW appeared at the hearing and testified. The IWC did not receive any information or testimony from employees and employers in other types of non-automobile businesses in the manufacturing industry. However, the IWC received letters for NUMMI employees who stated that they currently take their meal period after working five (5) hours and fifteen (15) minutes, and would prefer not to be required to take their meal period after no more than five (5) hours. One employee also stated: "The current schedule is better for team members because it breaks up our schedule into 2½ hour work periods, which coincides with our change in work rotation."
Following the investigation, and as part of its continuing duties to ascertain the wages, hours, and conditions of labor and employment of employees in the State, the IWC determined that the current meal period provisions in Wage Order 1 may be prejudicial to the health, safety, and welfare of such employees. The IWC has therefore decided to convene this wage board and has selected an equal number of employee and employer representatives, and a non-voting chairperson, to consider whether Section 11, Meal Periods, should be amended.
Title 8, California Code of Regulations §11534 provides in part that the wage board shall consider such data as is submitted to it by the IWC, and that any additional information necessary to the deliberations of the wage board shall be furnished by the IWC upon request of the chairperson of the wage board, insofar as feasible. The information provided by the IWC will include transcripts of testimony, and other documents previously presented to the IWC. The IWC requests that the wage board review these materials prior to the date of its first meeting.
After the wage board members study the materials sent to the board by the IWC and the board makes its findings, the IWC requests that the board send to the IWC its recommendations as to whether Wage Order 1, section 11 should be amended to allow employees covered under Wage Order 1 to take their meal periods after working no more than six (6) hours, rather than five (5) hours as currently required, and if amended, whether the amendment shall apply to all employees covered under Wage Order 1 or to employees in auto manufacturing only.