CA Legislative Session Delivers Big Gains for Workers
by Art Pulaski,
California Labor Federation
Big things are happening in California. The end of the California legislative session brought huge gains to workers and their families that boost our state’s economy and bolster the middle class.
Unions led the charge this year in passing a host of new laws that benefit all workers. With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25, Gov. Brown signed AB 10, taking California’s minimum wage to $10 per hour by January of 2016, a 25 percent wage increase for low-wage workers in the state. While immigration reform is stalled in DC, Gov. Brown signed a slew of bills to protect immigrants and ensure greater inclusion. We tackled the underground economy. We promoted good jobs. We eliminated a corporate tax break that wasted taxpayer dollars and destroyed union jobs. And much more.
In short, California is accomplishing what few other states can even imagine these days: Progress for working people.
Among the notable legislative victories this year were the following bills Gov. Brown signed into law:
• AB 10 (Alejo/Steinberg): Increased the minimum wage to $10 per hour by January of 2016.
• AB 93 (Assembly Budget Committee): Reformed the wasteful Enterprise Zone corporate tax breaks to reward employers who create good jobs.
• AB 241 (Ammiano): Granted daily and weekly overtime protection to domestic workers who have been excluded from most labor laws.
• AB 263 (Hernandez)/AB 524 (Mullin)/SB 666 (Steinberg): Enacted the strongest protections for immigrant workers to stop retaliation when workers speak out about unfair wages or working conditions.
• AB 537 (Bonta): Improved process for public sector bargaining to resolve disputes more effectively.
• AB 1387 (Hernandez): Protected car wash workers by preserving the car wash registry and increasing the bond to crack down on the underground economy.
• SB 7 (Steinberg): State Building and Construction Trades Council-sponsored bill that raised wages for construction workers by incentivizing compliance with prevailing wage laws.
• SB 400 (Jackson): Helped domestic violence survivors keep their jobs and promotes a safer workplace by asking employers to work with survivors to identify and minimize the risk of workplace violence.
• SB 770 (Jackson): Expanded paid family leave to include time providing care for parents-in-law, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren.
With these new laws, there’s no question that California is the national leader in supporting workers and their families. And this success reminds us that elections do matter. While workers in many other states are fending off attacks, we moved forward. All the volunteer hours California union workers spent supporting candidates who stand with working people made the difference.
California Labor has set the standard nationally. We’re achieving big victories because our members are committed to progress. Thanks for all you do, and I look forward to even bigger victories in the future. To learn more about Labor’s legislative accomplishments, go to www.CaliforniaLabor.org.