5 Things You Need to Know about CA Labor: October 2023

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Here are the latest updates from California Labor!

1. Wins & Losses in the State Capitol 

Labor had some big wins this session: paid sick days, increased labor law enforcement, stronger workplace safety protection, higher minimum wage for fast food and healthcare workers, skilled and trained protections on new projects, and organizing rights for legislative staff. We were also able to get $2 million to fund healthcare for workers on strike, an expanded Film Tax Credit to preserve good union jobs in the entertainment industry, and $18 million for local agencies to do labor law enforcement.

Unfortunately, some of our most important bills to protect striking workers and workers trying to organize were vetoed:

  • SB 799 would have allowed striking workers to access unemployment benefits that they already earned. 
  • AB 316 would have protected public safety and good jobs by requiring a human operator on autonomous big rig trucks.
  • SB 627 would have required corporate chains to give workers the opportunity to transfer to another store after a closure.

Vetoes won’t stop us. We plan to come back next year and get these bills done to build worker power and protect good union jobs from automation and artificial intelligence.

2. SAG-AFTRA Strike Continues

We have all been celebrating that the writers in WGA just ratified their contract by historic margins. But we can’t forget our SAG-AFTRA siblings who continue to be on the line in the fight for a fair contract. This past Saturday marked their 100th day on strike! 

SAG-AFTRA members are fighting for all of us to have a say in how technology and AI are used in the workplace. We stand with them and we ask all of California Labor to show solidarity. You can find their picket lines here.

For a full list of workers on strike in California and picket lines where you can show support, check out calaborfed.org.

3. Tentative Agreement for Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions!

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions—SEIU-UHW, SEIU 121RN, OPEIU Local 29, OPEIU Local 30, and IFPTE Local 20–went on a 3-day Unfair Labor Practice Strike earlier this month. This was the largest healthcare worker strike in U.S. history and included 75,000 Kaiser workers nationwide and 66,000 alone in California. The Labor Federation granted statewide strike sanction so all picket lines were honored by the Federation, local labor councils, and over 1,200 affiliated unions.

Thanks to the tremendous demonstration of solidarity, the Coalition won a tentative agreement! The TA includes a 21% increase to wages over four years, a new healthcare worker minimum wage of $25 per hour, and a commitment from the employer to accelerate hiring to address the critical staffing shortage. The full membership will vote on the tentative agreement between October 18 and November 3.  Congratulations to the heroic healthcare workers who take care of us and our families!

4. Creating New Union Jobs in California’s Emerging Industries  

Right now, we have a unique opportunity to maximize union jobs across emerging sectors–including energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, lithium, broadband, off-shore wind, and more. With a pro-union President in the White House and billions of dollars for new projects, the labor movement must seize this moment to make sure these new sectors are unionized.

Last week the Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council hosted our first ever Industrial Unions’ Policy Convening. We gathered unions and labor experts across industries to help inform our discussion and shape Labor’s Industrial Policy, including how we ensure there are strong labor standards on all new state and federal funding that will lead to the creation of union jobs in these new industries. 

5. SAVE THE DATE: 2023 Pre-Primary Convention & 2024 Legislative Conference

The Labor Federation’s Pre-Primary Convention is coming up soon on December 5th, 2023 in Oakland. This is where delegates have the opportunity to weigh in on Labor’s endorsements for the March 2024 Primary election. It is union democracy in action! Please reach out to your union to confirm your delegate status.

Also, don’t miss out on the Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades’ 2024 Joint Legislative Conference! Next year, this conference will be held from March 17th to 19th in Sacramento. To save your spot, please get in touch with your local labor council and let them know you’re interested in attending!

In Solidarity,

Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher