Legislative Conference: CFI Attendees Participate in Labor Federation Efforts

Sacramento_ CFI members recently participated in the California Labor Federation’s 2019 Joint Legislative Conference, a gathering in which unions and activists from all over the state join efforts to lobby for bills in favor of labor and to share ideas for future projects.

Silvia San Martin and Jackie Ruiz from Region 4 and Tyler Nguyen and Janet Hudec from Region 3 attended the Building the Future conference held March 31through April 3 in Sacramento on behalf of our local.  

The conference emphasized the importance for all union members to get involved in the democratic process. Locals must have active Legislative and Political Action Committees to work on elections, educate members on the issues, and lobby for our interests. We see how unions can be weakened and how a single action of Congress or state legislature can eliminate advances.

Currently, there are several bills CWA wants lawmakers to pass:

  • AB 1677 Call Centers, sponsored by Assembly member Shirley Weber. This bill would prioritize state grants and subsidies to corporations that retain call center jobs in California. AB 1677 would require that employers seeking to relocate call center jobs to another country give the Labor Commissioner 120 days’ notice; would prohibit employers appearing on the Commissioner’s compiled list of call center job exporters from receiving any state grants, guaranteed loans, or tax benefits for five years. AB 1677 is instrumental in our fight against Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). This bill will incentivize VRI call centers to stay in the state of California, hire Californians, and contribute to California’s economic growth. With a heathier economy, state funded budgets (like the Interpreter fund) have the opportunity to increase. 
  • AB 1066 Unemployment Insurance: Extended Duration Benefits, sponsored by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez. This bill would provide unemployment benefits for workers during a strike. Ineligibility for unemployment benefits during a labor dispute creates an incentive for an employer to delay and be unreasonable during negotiations. Employers can try to exacerbate the financial hardship on workers as a strategy to secure a more favorable outcome during labor negotiations. This type of hardship should not exist for workers who are merely exercising their rights. Allowing workers to be eligible for unemployment insurance, after a period of two weeks, would create a more level bargaining field between employers and employees.
  • AB 5 Defend Dynamex and Rebuild the Middle Class, is a collaborative effort by several labor unions sponsored by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez. On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court that made it harder for companies to misclassify workers as independent contractors. AB 5 will codify this decision and clarify where it applies. It will also exempt from the decision specified professionals where such protection is not warranted. The bill will clarify what employment relationships are not covered by the decision, providing certainty to industries that are unsure of the case’s implications. 

Currently, CFI Local 39000 is working on creating several future bills that will benefit our profession. More information will be provided in the near future. Stay tuned!

We are only strong when we join forces, stand together, and fight together. 

In Solidarity,

Janet Hudec