Legislative Session Delivers Real Gains for Workers
New laws establish California as national leader in supporting middle class families
The 2013 legislative session delivered a host of new laws that provide significant gains to California workers, boost our state’s economy and bolster the middle class. This progress is in stark contrast to what’s happening federally with the government shutdown and vicious cycle of Republican-conceived crises that are hurting our national economy.
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 Washington DC, Gov. Brown signed a slew of bills to protect immigrants and promote greater inclusion. With Tea Party extremists trying to defund the federal Affordable Care Act, California opened our state-wide healthcare exchange, offering unprecedented access to quality, affordable healthcare to families across the state.
California’s unions worked in partnership with the immigrant rights community to not only push for federal reform, but also push stronger state law protections for immigrant workers and their families. Labor pushed for the rights of excluded workers to have basic protections. Unions also led the charge to raise the minimum wage to put more money in workers’ pockets and into our local economies.
“Labor led the way this year in bringing real equality and progress to working people in California,” said Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “We reformed tax breaks that cost jobs, we won rights for domestic workers and car wash workers, we brought greater equality to hard-working immigrants, and we began the essential work of rebuilding the state’s middle class. With these new laws, there’s no question that California is the national leader in supporting workers and their families.”
Among the bills enacted to protect workers and promote jobs:
- AB 10 (Alejo/Steinberg): Increased the minimum wage to $10 per hour by January of 2016.
- AB 60 (Alejo): Expanded drivers licenses to all Californians, with key protections for immigrant drivers.
- 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 in the country 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): Raised wages for construction workers by incentivizing compliance with prevailing wage laws.
- SB 168 (Monning): Helped protect workers working for farm labor contractors by providing successor liability to ensure wages are paid.
- 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.
“Together these new laws make California a better place to live and work,” said Pulaski. “They put this state at the forefront of the struggle for fairness for aspiring Americans. These new laws strengthen our economy as they rebuild California’s middle class.”