Legislative updates, the new Black Worker Outreach Project, and more
Legislative updates, the new Black Worker Outreach Project, and more

September Newsletter

Legislative Updates

The California Coalition for Worker Power successfully advocated for the California Workplace Outreach Project (CWOP) to be included in the governor’s 2023-24 state budget at $25 million. We are glad to be part of this important investment by the state in worker outreach. 

The legislative session has ended, and a number of worker-friendly bills made it through the Senate and Assembly, and currently await the governor's signature: SB 497the Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act, SB 553, the Workplace Violence Prevention Bill, SB 403, Discrimination on the Basis of Ancestry,  AB 524, the Family Caregiver Anti-Discrimination Act, and AB 575, the Paid Family Leave ImprovementsSB 700, Employment Discrimination: Cannabis Use, and SB 848, Employment: Leave for Reproductive Loss, and SB 616, the Paid Sick & Safe Days Bill.

Advocates for all of these bills are asking for call-ins and letters to the governor to emphasize their importance, as there is pressure on the business side not to pass so many labor bills at once.

Worksafe is a co-sponsor of California Domestic Workers Coalition’s bill SB 686 Domestic Workers: Occupational Safety to end the exclusion of health and safety rights for domestic workers.

AnaStacia attended SB 686’s day-long rally in Sacramento in September, a beautiful and moving event that put pressure on the Governor. CDWC intends to continue escalating pressure with the help of labor allies and more. There will be more events in the coming month to heighten this issue, especially if the bill gets vetoed.  

High Heat Update

Cal/OSHA has repeatedly revised the standard since its initial draft in February 2017. The Division brought forward a proposal for a public hearing before the Standards Board in May 2023 and is now in the last stages of finalizing the rule for adoption.

The proposed regulatory text and supporting documents have to be finalized by Cal/OSHA and the OSHSB by February 2024. Once these are finalized, the complete rulemaking file will be sent to the Office of Administrative Law for final approval.

Cal/OSHA is convening an advisory committee to recommend a scope of study/studies to the Labor Workforce and Development Agency pursuant to AB 1643 (signed in 2022). The next meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday Sept. 26, from 10 am to noon.

Black Worker Outreach Project

After years of building community relationships, Worksafe is launching a Black Worker Outreach Project in conjunction with CWOP to engage Black workers about their workplace rights and create community leadership opportunities for Black workers. Joining us in this effort are long-time organizers, Oraiu Amoni and Derrick Muhammed. 
Oraiu Amoni
Oraiu Amoni, Community Organizer
Derrick Muhammed
Derrick Muhammed, Worker's Rights Educator

Oraiu Amoni has spent over a decade working in politics across the state of California – City of Oakland, California State Assembly, Larry Tramutola political strategist, SEIU-UHW. 

Derrick H. Muhammad earned his law degree from UC Davis School of Law – King Hall in 2009. It is Muhammad’s experience in the maritime industry that gives him the critical advantage that injured maritime workers need. 

(Read more about Oraiu and Derrick)

We welcome them both to the team!
Jora and Oraiu at the Black Unity Conference
BWOP participated in three events this past month. On September 10th, we conducted outreach at the Black Unity Conference in San Francisco at the African American Art and Culture Complex. 

On September 13th, they joined shop stewards with IAM in Burlingame to learn about workplace conditions for airport workers (below).
Oraiu and Jora with IAM members IAM members give a presentation on their working conditions Group photo!
And on Sunday September 17th, we opened an entire city block at Black Culture Zone’s “Liberation Park on the Road” at Art & Soul with a photo and informational booth. We connected with two hundred Black workers at the event. For more great photos, check out our Facebook page!
Friends of BWOP pose in front of the booth
Friends of BWOP pose in front of the Worksafe booth at the Art & Soul Festival
Leobardo Segura-Meza speaks to the Standards Board

The Silicosis Standard 

The following is excertped from our August 17th blog:

"At only twenty-seven years old, Leobardo requires this tank to breathe. He is on the waitlist for a lung transplant, and has watched coworkers die awaiting their own lung transplants. 
The disease which ended his coworkers’ lives and now threatens Leobardo’s is a severe lung disease called silicosis, caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a common mineral found in many types of rock and soil. Inhaling silica particles over time causes permanent lung scarring known as pulmonary fibrosis.
Because of Leobardo’s courageous testimony and WOEMA action, the Board members followed Cal/OSHA’s strong recommendation and voted 4–0 to approve Cal/OSHA to quickly prepare an ETS for approval. The first Advisory Committee meeting to advance the standard was held last Wednesday, just a few weeks after the vote." (Read more here.)

CCWP Meets to Set 2024 Priorities 

The California Coalition for Worker Power has been hosting retreats to facilitate strategic planning and analysis for the upcoming year and continue building strong relationships between member organizations. CCWP is coming off a successful year advocating for broader protections from retaliation for all California workers (see SB 497 update, below).

The first one, held in Los Angeles in July, was attended by Stephen and Jora and primarily directed at laying a foundation for a broader “deep dive” held for the full membership in September, again in Los Angeles. Rachel and Stephen attended and contributed to the lively and passionate discussions about what it will take to earn significant gains for worker power in the next five years.
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