We’ve made it halfway through this year’s Legislative session and we continue to move our agenda here in California despite significant pushback from the Trump Administration.
First, Trump and his Labor Department have moved to take away meal and rest breaks from truck drivers. Then, they tried to take away funding for High Speed Rail. They recently declared “gig” workers, such as Uber drivers, independent contractors and are now going after meal and rest breaks away for bus drivers. Trump likes to talk like he’s pro-worker, but all of his actions tell a different story.
Meanwhile, in California, things are very different. Governor Newsom and legislative leaders have crafted a budget deal that actually helps people in need. They have expanded healthcare, public education, pre-school, paid family leave, and many other important programs.
Stopping employee misclassification
Our own Teamster legislative agenda also continues to move forward. AB 5 by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D, San Diego) expands on the unanimous California Supreme Court decision in the Dynamex case. That court decision provided important legal tools to fight employee misclassification. Since the trucking industry is the biggest purveyor of worker exploitation through misclassification, we are at the forefront of this fight. The bill is now in the Senate.
Making changes at UC and Cal State U
Thanks to the success of Local 2010, we are now one of the biggest unions in higher education and there are many issues we are working on to make those members’ lives better. We continue our efforts to get step increases or merit pay reinstated at the California State University system. We have co-sponsored AB 369 by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D, San Diego), which would restore step increases for the first time since the late 1990’s. The bill is in the Senate.
Additionally, we have co-sponsored SB 698 by Senator Connie Leyva (D, Chino), which would eliminate the University of California’s exemption from timely wage requirements. UC has implemented a new payroll system that has been nothing but problems for our members and there are currently no penalties when workers aren’t paid correctly or paid at all. This will fix that problem and is now in the Assembly.
Money for water in Paradise
Lastly, we have worked throughout the state budget process to get money for programs in dire need where we have members doing the work. Perhaps no place is in more need than the community of Paradise, which suffered through the devastating Camp fire. We have members who live and work there.
The community has many needs as they rebuild and one huge one is access to clean water. Our members work at the Paradise Irrigation District where the infrastructure was decimated by the fire. As of the writing of this article, it looks like we helped get them enough funding to stay afloat for now. We are keeping our fingers crossed.