Considering the state of this state and the condition of the world, the so-called "Public Employees Bill of Rights Act" might be mistaken for satire.


The problem is, Assembly Bill 1655, is serious. It aims to give unionized California government workers "more workplace discipline protections and first dibs on state government work," as the Sacramento Bee put it.


More special treatment for those arguably already the most "special" segment of California's workforce would be overkill, at the least. Unionized public workers enjoy pay, benefits and retirement payouts in excess of those in the private sector. The idea they need more job protection is laughable, considering the unions' clout with the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, who largely owe their own jobs to union backing.


Nevertheless, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, proposes AB1655 to further provide this already protected class of government employee with priority over outside contractors and a reduction to one year from the current three years allowed to take adverse action against a state employee suspected of fraud, embezzlement or falsifying records.


The bill also would require "a peer review committee to provide workplace operations input," which sounds to us like the tail wagging the dog. AB1655 similarly would guarantee against "unreasonable quotas" on employees, and ban "extra work" created by vacancies, furloughs or layoffs without "fair compensation."


Public employees also would be given priority in workplace safety and health grievances. Workplace discrimination would be banned, and employers required to exercise "preventive and corrective" actions before administering harsher employee discipline.


The bill proposes further preferential treatments involving grievances, merit evaluations and guarantees of "independent legal representation for professionally licensed workers named as codefendants in litigation."


If this seems excessive, it is. If it seems familiar, it should. Mr. Dickinson's office says his bill would extend to unionized workers the "same kind of employee rights" found in the Peace Officer Procedural Bill of Rights, the Firefighter's Bill of Rights and the Bill of Rights for "excluded" state employees. We suspect most Californians, who settle for the U.S. Bill of Rights for their legal protections, are unaware so many special "rights" are bestowed on so many stripes of government employment.


We refer Mr. Dickinson to Greece, where similar policies have made bleak news.