Government Affairs Update: November 2023
Dear OCEA member,
There is no shortage of politicians who seek to restrict or eliminate collective bargaining and other rights of working people. That's one of the reasons why it is critical unions actively mobilize and inform members about the real-life impacts of their political decisions. We must always remember that politics takes an interest in us regardless of whether we take an interest in politics.
Politicians make the final decision about the fairness of our wages and the reasonableness of our working conditions. OCEA understands and respects that each OCEA member carries their own personal values into the voting booth. Our responsibility is to explain which candidates, initiatives, and causes directly impact your rights and your economic security as workers. Below are a few examples of the political activity OCEA has taken on behalf of you and your families.
OCEA Legislative Committee and Legislative Positions
Each year the California state legislature enacts laws that impact local government workers. Our union knows how important these laws can be to OCEA members. So, like every other major union in California, we regularly monitor what’s happening in Sacramento through the OCEA Legislative Committee.
OCEA's Legislative Committee is comprised of members of the OCEA Board of Directors who meet monthly with designated OCEA staff and our legislative advocates from Aaron Read & Associates. Committee members provide frontline worker input on legislation that impacts you and your co-workers.
Through the Legislative Committee OCEA coordinates with other labor organizations to identify issues and take positions on pending legislation, which may include any of the following:
- Support: OCEA is an official supporter of the legislation. Our legislative advocates will work to ensure passage in the state legislature
- Oppose: OCEA officially opposes the legislation. Our legislative advocates will work to defeat passage or amend the bill to make it more acceptable to OCEA; or
- Watch: OCEA delays taking a position and our legislative advocate will monitor the bill's progress. We can subsequently support, oppose, or continue to watch.
Labor had some huge victories in the most recent legislative session, including important legislation related to:paid sick days; increased labor law enforcement; stronger workplace safety protections; 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 enforce labor laws.
Unfortunately, some of the 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 return next year to get these and other critical bills enacted to build worker power and protect good union jobs from automation and artificial intelligence.
If you are interested in being more involved with the legislation that impacts public service and union jobs, contact OCEA Assistant General Manager Tim Steed at email@example.com.
Publication Date: November 8, 2023