Thurmond's Labor Bills Pass Senate Labor Committee

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Overtime Worker Protection Legislation Passes Senate Labor Committee

Sacramento – AB 1565 by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) will raise California’s overtime protection salary cap $47,476 per year. The bill passed the California Senate Labor Committee yesterday.

“Overtime pay is one of the most critical worker protections we have,” said Assemblymember Thurmond. “People should be fairly compensated for the work that they do.”

During the Obama Administration, the US Department of Labor (USDOL) began a rule making process to update the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative, and professional workers to be considered exempt from over time protections under Federal law. Under the regulations adopted USDOL in 2016, the threshold moved from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year. With the Trump Administration failing to defend stronger federal overtime protections, there will be middle class workers who fall into the gap between the state’s salary threshold for overtime pay exemption, twice minimum wage, and what would have been the stronger protections afforded by federal regulation.

AB 1565 will ensure that as of the bill’s effective date, no more California workers will lose access to overtime as a result of Trump’s attack on the middle class.

The California Labor Federation is the sponsor of this bill.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

 

Thurmond’s Joint Liability for Unpaid Wages and Benefits Bill Passes Senate Labor Committee

AB 1701, authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), holds a general contractor jointly liable with a subcontractor, when a subcontractor fails to pay an employee’s wages and benefit contributions.  AB 1701 passed the California State Senate Labor Committee yesterday.

“I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and I are in agreement that general contractors should be responsible for ensuring that a subcontractor’s wages and benefit payment obligations should be met,” said Thurmond. “This measure incentivizes the use of responsible subcontractors and helps to ensure the economic vitality of the construction industry and its role in the creation of good paying middle class jobs.”incentivizes the use of responsible subcontractors and helps to ensure the economic vitality of the construction industry and its role in the creation of good paying middle class jobs.”

When a subcontractor skips town or files for bankruptcy before paying their employees the wages and benefits they are due, employees have few remedies available to them under existing law.  This not only financially hinders a worker and his or her family, but in the case of unpaid contributions to union pension and welfare benefit trust funds, it also diminishes the important safety net these trusts are able to provide all their members.  

Under current law, general contractors are able to ignore certain disreputable labor practices of their subcontractors without a risk of financial liability. This allows general contractors to enjoy lower labor costs without any consequences. It can also perpetuate the underground economy. 

Numerous studies over the years have shown the wide spread negative impacts of the underground economy and how this affects honest contractors, hard workers and their families, and our local communities.  Billions of dollars in tax dollars are lost every year because of a payroll fraud epidemic.

AB 1701 addresses the problem by making a general contractor jointly liable for a subcontractor’s unpaid wages, fringe or other benefit payments.

AB 1701 is sponsored by the California Conference of Carpenters.

This bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Assemblymember Thurmond’s Refinery Bill Passes Senate Labor Committee

AB 55 Closes Loopholes in Exemptions to SB 54 fortifying Safety in California Refineries and Surrounding Communities

AB 55 authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) passed the California Senate Labor Committee yesterday. The bill closes loopholes in SB 54 that assures improved oversight of refineries.

“Following the fire at Richmond’s oil refinery, SB 54 was a good first step to improve worker and community safety; however SB 54 has some loopholes that need to be addressed,” said Thurmond. “AB 55 is the Legislature’s next step in striving for greater safety at refineries and for all neighborhoods, around the state that live in their shadow.”

California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, California State Association of Electrical Workers, California State Pipe Trades Council, District Council 16, Painters and Allied Trades, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers are in support of this bill. The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California is the bill Sponsor.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Legislation That Protects Healthcare Workers during Surgical Procedures Passes the Senate Labor Committee

Assembly Bill 402, authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), authorizes Cal-OSHA to develop regulations to protect healthcare workers and patients by permitting the removal of harmful airborne contaminants generated during certain medical procedures at healthcare facilities. The bill passed the Senate Labor Committee yesterday afternoon.

“Moving this bill forward is a good step in the right direction towards proactively addressing the needs of our medical employees that perform these procedures,” said Assemblymember Tony Thurmond. “By adopting standards to remove these infectious airborne contaminants before they are dispersed into the surgical suite and surrounding areas, California will be a leader in the reduction of hazardous exposure to surgical plumes, which will prove beneficial both to health care providers and their patients.”

AB 402 directs the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to develop regulations to protect healthcare workers and patients by mandating the removal of plumes of noxious airborne contaminants generated during certain medical procedures at healthcare facilities.

This bill is supported by the California Labor Federation, the American Lung Association, and the International Council on Surgical Plume. The bill is sponsored by the California Nurses Association.

AB 402 has moved forward to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

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