SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) – Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation on Monday allowing tens of thousands of childcare workers in California to bargain for better wages and health benefits.

Newsom signed Assembly Bill 378 by Assemblymember Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara), which would apply to more than 40,000 workers.

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AB378 provides sweeping access to unions by requiring the state to give childcare workers union contact information. Unions would also be allowed to attend orientation meetings and promote their organization.

It applies to workers who offer child care to families who get government subsidies. The law says those workers can collectively bargain like other public employees, though it does not turn them into state workers. It would allow them to bargain over things like reimbursement rates and payment procedures.

“Creating quality jobs for the child care workforce makes economic and common sense. These workers care for our kids – we need to take care of them,” Newsom said in a statement.

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Child care workers have been trying to unionize since 2004.

Supporters of the bill said childcare workers often struggle to make ends meet, and that childcare workers in 11 other states already have the right to collectively bargain.

Newsom also signed legislation allowing political candidates to use campaign funds for child care expenses incurred while they are campaigning. It’s aimed at encouraging more parents to run for office.

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