IBEW 1245 has done the research on all the candidates for office in 2014. The union has endorsed the following candidates for statewide office in California, based on their track records and vocal support for labor rights and the issues that matter most to working families. Please read on and then make your own informed decision before you cast your ballot.
Edmund “Jerry” Brown
Gov. Jerry Brown has always backed unions and supports the right to organize. When workers at CalPine were organizing to join IBEW 1245, Gov. Brown met with our CalPine organizing committee and gave them encouragement and support amidst a difficult and hostile anti-union campaign. Gov. Brown has signed more than 40 pro-worker bills into law over the last four years. He’s expanded Paid Family Leave and raised wages for construction workers by strengthening prevailing wage laws. He’s tackled the underground economy, raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour, and has been a vocal advocate of the job-creating high-speed rail project.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has been a friend to the labor movement since his time as Mayor of San Francisco. He’s joined hotel workers on the picket line, and formed special partnerships with teachers’ unions to stave off layoffs during the economic downturn. Known for his innovative family-friendly policies, Newsom launched the “Healthy San Francisco” program which provided quality, affordable healthcare for 82,000 uninsured San Franciscans years before the federal health care law went into effect.
John Chiang stands with working families 100% of the time and fights to protect our wages. In 2010, when Gov. Schwarzenegger ordered then-Controller Chiang to start paying state employees the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour (75 cents less than California’s minimum wage at the time), Chiang refused to comply. “Reducing state salaries to the federal minimum wage will do nothing to solve the budget deficit.” Chiang wrote in an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. “But it will cost California billions of dollars in penalties and damages for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Constitution.”
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
As a lifelong union member, Tom Torlakson understands the issues that matter most to California’s working families. As a state legislator, Torlakson fought to expand union organizing rights and worked to stave off efforts to eliminate the eight-hour day and lunch breaks. “He has been a tireless advocate for prevailing wage on all public works projects, believing in the quality of construction using the most highly trained, streamlined work force to build world-class schools that will last for decades, providing taxpayers the best value for their dollar,” California State Building and Construction Trades Council leader Robbie Hunter noted.
As a member of the State Board of Equalization since 2006, Betty Yee has the experience and know-how to take on the role of Chief Fiscal Officer for the state of California. Yee has pledged to preserve retirement security for public employees by protecting defined benefit plans, and she has numerous ideas to ensure CALPERS and CALSTERS are able to fulfill their commitment to our state’s retirees. “California needs to work diligently to ensure public employee and teacher retirees as well as private sector workers can realize retirement security at the end of their careers,” Yee has said.
Since being elected Insurance Commissioner in 2010, Dave Jones has worked aggressively to make sure every Californian has access to quality, affordable health care. He issued emergency regulations to require that at least 80 percent of the individual health insurance premiums go to actual health care, and not to insurer profits, marketing and overhead; as a result, he has saved policyholders more than $1.6 billion in insurance premiums. Prior to serving as Insurance Commissioner, Jones was a champion in the state legislature, where he sponsored more than 70 bills that were signed into law, on health issues ranging from medical record privacy to senior abuse and HMO discrimination.
A true “Main Street” lawmaker, Kamala Harris dedicated her first term as Attorney General to stemming the tidal wave of foreclosures that was devastating California’s communities and economy. She worked closely with organized labor to pass the Homeowners Bill of Rights in 2012, which guarantees basic fairness and transparency for families who are struggling to keep their homes. Following passage of Harris’ key legislation, the number of home foreclosures in California dropped by 75%. She has also cracked down on big banks and bad employers that skirt the law and exploit California workers.
SECRETARY OF STATE
As a state legislator, Alex Padilla was a strong supporter of pro-worker legislation. According to the California Labor Federation, Padilla voted with Labor 96% of the time in 2013. Padilla sponsored an important bill last year in the State Senate to require charter city proposals to be placed on general election ballots in order to maximize voter participation. Increasing voter participation will continue to be one of his primary goals if he is elected as Secretary of State.
For more information on the candidates for statewide office and their opponents, click here.
More election information can be found in the Fall edition of the Utility Reporter. For a complete list of union endorsements, including State Assembly, State Senate, ballot measures and local races, click here.