Heading into 2022 — and a potential third year of the COVID-19 pandemic — California officials faced a familiar-feeling dilemma.
Help businesses recover from an economic roller coaster by quashing burdensome new mandates?
Or rescue workers with paid sick leave, higher wages and crackdowns on corporate bad behavior?
Given the devastating effects of the last two years on both workers and businesses, the answer had to be all of the above.
Labor advocates point to new measures taking effect in January to toughen enforcement of workplace health and safety rules, outlaw piecework in the garment industry and rein in unsafe speed quotas at warehouses.
“The pandemic created a new consciousness that many men and women go to work every single day and take big risks,” said state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). “Not just first responders but grocery workers, farmworkers, truckers and garment workers who make protective masks.”