Jerry Brown on Workers’ Rights


Jerry Brown gave more than a million California workers the right to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits.

  • Brown extended collective bargaining rights to state employees (SB 839, 1977) as well as firefighters and other local government workers (AB 1693, 1981).
  • He signed laws to give teachers and public school employees (SB 160, 1975), as well as UC and CSU employees (AB 1091, 1978), the right to bargain collectively.
  • He signed the landmark farm labor law, which extended collective bargaining rights to farm workers and established the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. (SB 1, 1975)


Brown fought for fair wages for all California workers.

  • As Governor, Brown signed a bill to ensure that California’s minimum wage would never be lower than the federal minimum wage (SB 1588, 1976).
  • To ensure decent wages on public projects, Brown signed laws to require the University of California to pay prevailing wages to construction workers (SB 394, 1975), as well as to require public utilities to pay prevailing wages when they contract for janitorial services (AB 114, 1977).
  • To crack down against wage theft, Brown signed a law which prohibited an employer from taking any part of a tip left for an employee or crediting tips against wages due (AB 232, 1975).
  • He strengthened California’s equal pay laws, permitted class action lawsuits by workers who were discriminated against, and extended the statute of limitations to two years on legal actions to recover wages. (SB 1051, 1976)


Brown is committed to strengthening the safety net for injured and jobless workers.

  • During his eight years as governor, Brown signed seven separate pro-worker bills to improve the state’s Workers’ Compensation program, including three separate benefit increases.
  • He also signed four separate bills to improve the state’s Unemployment Insurance system, including three benefit increases and significant expansion of coverage.
  • Additionally, he signed eight separate bills to strengthen the state’s Disability Insurance program, including three benefit increases.


Brown strives to restore fairness for workers during labor disputes.

  • To make sure workers don’t lose their union if the business changes hands, Brown signed a law that makes any collective bargaining agreement existing between an employer and labor organization binding on any subsequent employer. (SB 1341, 1976)
  • Brown signed laws to prohibit the use of professional strikebreakers in labor disputes (SB 719, 1975), and restrict employers from using temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions to deny workers’ right to strike. (SB 743, 1975)
  • To help striking and locked out workers and their families stay afloat, Brown enabled workers to receive disability insurance payments during a labor dispute as long as the disability did not arise from the dispute. (SB 979, 1975)

Paid for by the California Labor Federation.
Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by a candidate.