2016 Platform: Labor, Economic Justice and Poverty Elimination

California Democrats continue to be close partners with organized labor and strong supporters of workers' rights. The ‘glass ceiling' for people of color and women must be shattered and there must be equal pay for equal or comparable work. Our strong workforce is what has made California among our nation's most valuable resources.  

California's future prosperity will depend upon jobs that ensure a minimum standard of living and that improve the quality of life for all its residents. Food, shelter (including affordable housing), clothing, health care, and education are among the basic human rights of all individuals. We are determined in our commitment to safeguard these basic human rights and to strongly support public services designed to eliminate poverty, hunger and homelessness, help the elderly, and help the disabled in order to strengthen all California communities. 

To meet the basic economic needs of all Californians, California Democrats will: 

  • Support a statewide minimum wage with a path to at least $15 per hour, and then indexed for inflation, and living wages in areas where the increasingly high cost of living and rising inflation renders it impossible to afford the basic necessities of life;
  • Support creating and maintaining public and private sector jobs that permanently lift the working poor out of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency and a secure retirement; support employer-provided, defined benefit pensions as an essential part of retirement security; and support the establishment of a Federal Interagency Working Group on Reducing Poverty to carry out a national plan to eliminate poverty in America;
  • Fight for public assistance programs that allow individuals to support themselves and their families;
  • Encourage employers to “ban the box” and fight to ensure that hiring decisions are made on the basis of an individual’s qualifications for a particular job instead of whether they are formerly convicted/incarcerated persons;
  • Support the development of new affordable housing units for families and individuals with low incomes;
  • Fight for meaningful tax reform which eliminates corporate welfare and achieves a more equitable tax system for working families;
  • Guarantee Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for CalWorks and Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Program (SSI/SSP) recipients in state and federal budgets;
  • Support the full funding of food stamp programs;
  • Promote expansion of emergency food networks, senior, and school meal programs to end chronic hunger;
  • Encourage business and preference for firms that employ California workers whenever public funds are used for public works construction;
  • Pay prevailing wages to protect the economic base of the communities where government-funded projects are undertaken, thereby ensuring that government is not lowering the standard of living;
  • Promote Project Labor Agreements for private and public sector infrastructure projects that provide for local hire, that help assure our returning veterans a job on a project, and that partner with viable state approved apprenticeship and other training programs for the community;
  • Support the 8-hour workday and daily overtime and fight any efforts to repeal the 40-hour workweek; advocate for paid sick days and vacation days for all workers; and, protect California's Paid Family Leave law;
  • Enhance workers' safety programs with adequate and appropriate penalties for unsafe working conditions;
  • Support employee rights to organize and collective bargaining and support enforceable organizing agreements that include employer neutrality, card check recognition, and binding arbitration for first time contract disputes, in particular, where industries request governmental approval and/or taxpayer subsidies to expand;
  • Support “Fair Share” fees which cover the costs of union representation for bargaining and enforcing workers’ contracts with employers.
  • Oppose so called “Right to Work” laws, which deny workers the chance to have strong unions that give them a voice at work.
  • Boycott employers who have permanently replaced strikers, protect the collective bargaining rights of workers in both the public and private sectors, and support binding arbitration for police and firefighters who cannot strike; and,
  • Fight anti-worker initiatives that undermine the ability of union leaders to carry out the will of their members and engage in political activities.
  • Support funding for California’s mutual aid disaster response capabilities to ensure that state and local fire agencies have the resources necessary to effectively mitigate the public safety consequences brought about by changing climate patterns.

Anti-Human Trafficking
California Democrats believe every person is endowed with inalienable human rights, including the right to individual autonomy and to be free from violence and exploitation. California, as one of the most diverse states in the Union, is a magnet for domestic and global labor and sex trafficking. While predominantly affecting girls and women, human trafficking also includes boys and men. The CDP is committed to working with state and federal lawmakers to enhance anti-human trafficking efforts that do not criminalize victims and survivors, to provide sex trafficking victims an affirmative defense against solicitation and related charges, and to provide a procedure for survivors to vacate any such prior convictions so that they can pursue a future livelihood with a clean record. We will also urge lawmakers to budget for direct services to aid such victims and survivors.

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