Some big wins in 2021, but moving into a shaky future

Hello from Sacramento! We are about to embark on the 2022 Legislative session and there are many issues on the horizon that will potentially impact our union. Electoral redistricting, ballot initiatives, big policy proposals, and more will all be a part of the 2022 landscape. However, before I get into those things, I would like to highlight some of our victories in 2021.

We co-sponsored a number of bills last year and three were signed into law by Governor Newsom. SB 338 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D, Long Beach) expands joint liability for labor law violations to shippers (Walmart, Target, etc.) who hire port trucking companies with a history of misclassification.

SB 794 by Assembly Member Wendy Carillo (D, Los Angeles) creates high road job standards for trucking companies that get clean air subsidies from the state. 

Finally, AB 701 by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D, San Diego) creates health and safety rules for warehouse workers who are subject to the growing and harmful utilization of algorithmic production standards.

These were important victories for our members, and we will continue to push in 2022. This brings us to the many things that will shape how we move forward politically. For one, this will be an election year and that always creates weird dynamics in the Legislature. Most years, it means that nothing big happens because legislators are reluctant to take chances on things that may make their constituents mad. However, that’s not always the case and they could decide to tackle some of our state’s looming problems, such as healthcare reform, workers’ compensation reform, and the ongoing housing crisis.

Complicating the electoral politics is our once-a-decade redistricting process. Congressional and legislative maps are being redrawn as of the writing of this article and this promises to bring some significant changes in who holds office.  Some long-term legislators will find themselves with no district to run in or in a district with unfavorable demographics. We’ve already seen some retirements come ahead of schedule because of the potential new lines. Stay tuned because your local legislator may be moving to higher office or find themselves out of a job.  

Finally, we may have quite a few ballot initiatives in the November election that could significantly impact our members. A billionaire venture capitalist has filed an initiative to eradicate public employee unions. Another group has filed a measure to eliminate the ability of workers to go to court to enforce their wage and hour rights. There are also initiatives that could affect our members in horse racing, fairs, recycling, and the list goes on. It remains to be seen how many of these ideas will actually get the ballot, but surely some will.