Gonzalez Bills to Ensure a More Equitable Recovery from COVID-19 Pass in Assembly Committees

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, April 22, 2021) – Challenges facing working Californians, including lack of sufficient paid sick and family leave, lack of job security, dangerous work quotas, and unsafe working conditions have all been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, a package of legislation by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to support a just and equitable recovery for working families was passed by a series of Assembly committees.

"If we've learned anything from this past year, it's that the old way of doing things wasn't working for most families – and it isn't sustainable now. As we work our way out of this pandemic, we can't go back to the way things were," Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said. "California needs to lead with an equitable, worker-centered recovery that builds safe, good quality jobs that pay a living wage, provide workers the flexibility to balance their work and family needs, and ensures they have a true voice on the job."

Safer Warehouse Working Conditions

Online retail corporations like Amazon and Walmart have guaranteed faster shipping times during the pandemic at the cost of debilitating work speeds for warehouse workers, leading to an increase in workplace injuries. Assembly Bill 701 would strengthen warehouse workers’ rights against arbitrary and abusive work quota systems by establishing statewide standards to minimize worker injuries and requiring large warehouses to be transparent about their work quotas with their employees and state agencies. The legislation was approved on a 5 to 2 vote in the Assembly Labor Committee.

Fast Food Worker Rights

Assembly Bill 257, known as the Fast Food Accountability and Standards (FAST) Recovery Act, would ensure fast food workers at large chain establishments are empowered to shape industry-wide workplace standards by establishing a statewide Fast Food Sector Council that includes workers, state agencies, and industry representatives. The council would be responsible for reviewing and creating health, safety, and employment standards in the fast food restaurant industry, allowing workers to hold companies accountable for providing safe working conditions. The bill passed on a 5 to 2 vote in the Assembly Labor Committee.

More Paid Sick Days

California lead the nation over seven years ago by providing all private sector workers the right to use at least three paid sick days. Other cities and states around the nation have since adopted even stronger minimum standards to ensure workers aren’t in the vulnerable position of choosing between coming to work sick and risking their family’s livelihood. Assembly Bill 995 expands California’s historic sick leave law to guarantee working Californians can use at least five paid sick days each year. The legislation was approved in the Assembly Labor Committee with a 5 to 2 vote.

Retention Rights for Hotel Workers

As businesses bring back their laid-off employees, AB 1074 would help stabilize service jobs in the hospitality industry by minimizing any further displacement of hotel workers. Following the termination of a service contract, the Displaced Janitor and Hotel Workers Opportunity Act would require new hotel service contractors to retain the existing workforce for a period of at least 60 days. The bill passed in the Assembly Labor Committee on a 5 to 2 vote.

Paid Family Leave with Full Income Replacement

California’s Paid Family Leave program is entirely employee-funded, yet the benefits are out of reach for too many working class families. Taking partially-paid leave to care for a newborn child or a seriously ill family member is simply not an option for many working families living paycheck to paycheck. Assembly Bill 123 would ensure paid family leave is a benefit that all workers can utilize by guaranteeing 90% of an individual’s income during the period of their leave. The bill was unanimously approved by the Assembly Insurance Committee last week.

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County, including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities. For more information on Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, visit http://asm.ca.gov/gonzalez