Political Director’s Report — July 2019

The California State Legislature have started their summer recess and will reconvene in August, and they still have plenty of policy work ahead of them. Here are two bills important to us.

SB 524 (Stern) requires the California Public Utilities Commission to direct staff to ensure that work is performed by a skilled and trained workforce for projects receiving $50,000 of more in ratepayer-funded incentives for energy efficiency projects within the same building, facility, or building complex. Investor Owned Utilities spend over 1.2 billion dollars on energy efficiency programs without requiring any workforce standards. You know what happens when an untrained workforce installs anything – substandard equipment performance. This bill will help us organize the “green” jobs being created by energy efficiency projects.

AB 5 (Gonzalez) was written to protect workers from being misclassified. Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that companies must use a simple test to determine whether a worker is truly an independent contractor instead of an employee. AB 5 clarifies the decision and protects both employees and those who are actual independent contractors. Tech companies like Uber and Lyft are opposing this bill and are attempting to create a third category of employment. Misclassification already costs construction union members millions of dollars annually. We’re certain that a third category will harm our members; we don’t need more employment categories!

Both bills are working their way to the Governor’s desk, with our support.

Stay cool and drink lots of water. Please remember that there is no shame in asking for help when you’re experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression.

Antonio Sanchez
IBEW 11 Political Director

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