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Newsom Signs Bill Expanding Cal/OSHA’s Enforcement Power

Newsom Signs Bill Expanding Cal/OSHA’s Enforcement Power

​On Sept. 27, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 606, which expands enforcement power for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (which is known as Cal/OSHA). We’ve gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other outlets.Substantial ChangesThe new law, which is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, creates a rebuttable presumption that employers with multiple worksites have made enterprise-wide workplace safety violations in certain circumstances. An employer with a violation at one worksite may be presumed to have similar violations at other worksites. The law also will allow Cal/OSHA to issue a citation to an “egregious” employer for each willful violation. SB 606 will “require each instance of an employee exposed to that violation to be considered a separate violation for purposes of the issuance of fines and penalties,” according to the bill. The bill will also provide Cal/OSHA with additional subpoena power during investigations. (SHRM Online)Labor Union Supports ChangesSen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, sponsored the bill. “The least we can do for our frontline heroes is commit to safe workplaces, which are both critical to the health of essential workers and our state’s recovery,” she said. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council supports the legislation. “Enforcement is essential to ensure worker safety,” said Amber Baur, executive director of UFCW Western States Council. “SB 606 will help protect workers and the communities where they live by giving Cal/OSHA the resources they need to do the enforcement work that is essential to keep workers safe on the job and a fine structure that encourages employers to comply.”(UFCW Western States Council)CalChamber Opposes the LegislationThe California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) opposes SB 606. The law significantly expands Cal/OSHA’s authority by creating a new “egregious employer” category in the California Labor Code, and it creates a new category of “enterprise-wide” citations “that face higher citation amounts based on, at times, evidence at only one location,” CalChamber said. The business advocacy group initially tagged the bill as a “job killer” but removed the designation in March when amendments were made that limited “certain overbroad provisions,” CalChamber said. But the organization “remains opposed due to structural changes to Cal/OSHA enforcement.”(CalChamber)Impact on EmployersThe new provision on “enterprise-wide” citations “is expected to affect construction industry employers with multiple worksites and big-box retailers with multiple sites throughout California, as well as large manufacturers that may have multiple establishments or locations in the state,” according to law firm Ogletree Deakins. The law “create[s] a provision that presumes that a violation in one location is evidence of a violation at another location, and it would shift the burden to the employer to prove otherwise.”(Ogletree Deakins)Complying with California Safety StandardsAll private-sector employers operating in California are responsible for complying with the state’s applicable workplace safety and health laws, which are overseen and enforced by Cal/OSHA. Businesses that fail to adhere to California’s myriad safety standards and orders can face significant penalties for noncompliance. Log in or join SHRM to view this resource.(SHRM Online) …

A record number of cargo ships are stuck outside LA. What’s happening?

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A record number of cargo ships are stuck outside LA. What’s happening?

Los AngelesA record number of cargo ships are stuck outside LA. What’s happening? Port complex of Los Angeles and Long Beach, already the busiest in the US, has seen major traffic this week as imports boom Dani Anguiano@ …

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Anti-masker abuse, subpar healthcare, and a 5 cent raise: CVS workers say enough is enough

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US unions Anti-masker abuse, subpar healthcare, and a 5 cent raise: CVS workers say enough is enough California employees looking for a better deal in union negotiations as the company posts record profits Michael Sainato Wed 15 Sep 2021 06.00 EDT Last modified on Wed 15 Sep 2021 07.21 EDT Thousands of workers at CVS […]

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Today’s News & Commentary — September 14, 2021

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Today’s News & Commentary — September 14, 2021

Missouri public employees’ unions continue to struggle against the governor’s office for collective bargaining. In 2018, former Governor Eric Greitens signed a law that gave meager raises in exchange for changing the states’ merit hiring system, effectively reclassifying state workers into at-will employees. Since then, current Governor Mike Parson, who was Greitens’s lieutenant governor, has […]

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Weekend News & Commentary – September 12, 2021

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Weekend News & Commentary – September 12, 2021

Six U.S. senators, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have called on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate allegations that Amazon.com Inc. fails to make adequate provisions for pregnant employees at its warehouses, citing “what appears to be a concerning pattern of mistreatment of pregnant employees at Amazon fulfillment centers.” As […]

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Today’s News & Commentary—September 2, 2021

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Today’s News & Commentary—September 2, 2021

Yesterday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy announced that rideshare companies could move forward with their proposed state ballot measure to exempt their drivers from employment law protections.  The proposal, modeled closely on California’s Proposition 22, was one of 17 out of 30 proposed ballot initiatives certified by the Attorney General as having met baseline state […]

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‘I don’t like being treated like crap’: gig workers aim to retool a system they say is rigged

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Gig economy ‘I don’t like being treated like crap’: gig workers aim to retool a system they say is rigged Uber, Lyft and other companies fighting Massachusetts lawsuit that would grant workers status as employees Michael Sainato Fri 27 Aug 2021 05.00 EDT Last modified on Fri 27 Aug 2021 05.01 EDT Felipe Martinez began […]

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California Solar Panel Mandate for New Buildings Advances

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California Solar Panel Mandate for New Buildings Advances

The state’s Energy Commission voted to require commercial and high-rise multifamily projects to have solar power and battery storage.

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Reconsidering Outdoor Travel in the West, as Wildfires Burn

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Reconsidering Outdoor Travel in the West, as Wildfires Burn

Excessive heat and wildfires could disrupt the booming outdoor travel industry, as travelers now have to take a hotter and longer fire season into account.

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Wildfires Limit Outdoor Travel and Activity Across the West

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Wildfires Limit Outdoor Travel and Activity Across the West

Excessive heat and wildfires could disrupt the booming outdoor travel industry, as travelers now have to take a hotter and longer fire season into account.

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