2018 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.  California’s strong workforce is 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 committed to safeguarding these basic human rights and to strongly supporting public services designed to eliminate poverty, hunger and homelessness, help seniors and people with disabilities in order to strengthen all California communities. 


All Californians have a right to affordable housing in reasonable proximity to where they work, study, and hold community ties.


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 to 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;
  • 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;
  • Fight for meaningful tax reform which eliminates corporate welfare and achieves a more equitable tax system for working families;
  • Work to 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 and where private developments get streamlined government approvals so 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;
  • Advocate for full rights for workers toiling in subcontracted and temporary work, end the misclassification of employees, and ensure that companies that subcontract are held to high standards by making those companies jointly liable with subcontracting firms when workers’ rights are violated;
  • 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, particularly 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;
  • Fight anti-worker initiatives that undermine the ability of union leaders to carry out the will of their members and engage in political activities; and,
  • Advocate for the elimination of subminimum wages that are paid to workers with disabilities and fully fund integrated employment programs designed to transition people with disabilities into workplaces that do not segregate people based on disability.  Democrats stand for the right of all workers to earn a living wage and reject wage-based discrimination rooted in an outdated view of disability.

Economic Justice

  • Fight for public assistance programs that allow individuals to support themselves and their families;
  • All people deserve the opportunity to pursue the American Dream and have the financial resources to live in economic security.  We support efforts to enact programs, such as a guaranteed government jobs program and a universal basic income/rent or housing to eliminate poverty while improving prospects to secure good jobs that help people climb the economic ladder;
  • 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;
  • Support the use of technology to improve the lives of workers and make workplaces safer and more efficient; oppose efforts by corporations to replace workers with machines as a means to pad their own bottom lines, and, as a consequence, undermine the economy and create economic instability in the lives of working people;
  • Eliminate Food Deserts and encourage/incentivize the development of local grocery stores in underrepresented areas; and,
  • Develop access to local banks and credit unions and limit the number of check cashing stores, pawn shops or other regressive financial institutions.

Affordable Housing

  • Encourage policies that provide direct shelter, job placement, and mental health services to those in need, and oppose policies that harass and marginalize them.  Individuals experiencing homelessness have the same right to dignity and respect as any Californian;
  • Support the development of new affordable housing units for families and individuals with low incomes;
  • Support the right of students to quality, affordable housing and accommodations within reasonable distance to their place of study, free from exploitation;
  • Support exploring ways in which publicly funded, constructed, and owned housing can mitigate the housing crisis rather than depend solely upon private developers to construct new affordable housing;
  • Support transit-friendly zoning and walkable, bikeable neighborhoods to encourage sustainability, affordability, and accessibility regardless of age, income, or physical limitations;
  • Oppose arbitrary or burdensome conditions placed upon affordable housing construction that is affordable for our state’s working families and otherwise conforms to state and local zoning and environmental regulations and demand that such affordable housing be considered a by-right use in any zone that permits residential use with the protections of the prevailing wage for workers;
  • Promote housing policies that provide for mixed income communities and that do not further exacerbate segregation by class and ethnicity; support inclusionary housing policies and oppose in-lieu development fees that exacerbate income divides, encourage sprawl, and marginalize poorer residents into less desirable areas that frequently have higher pollution levels and other health risks;
  • Encourage tax and zoning policy that discourages speculation on housing and encourages local residency at affordable prices, including the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction on second homes and reasonable restrictions on short-term rentals;
  • Encourage municipalities to provide reasonable accommodations to those forced into mobile residences by high cost of living;
  • Support allowing local communities to create strong tenant and affordability protections against displacement, speculation, rent increases, and evictions without interference from state law; and,
  • Work to preserve and protect buildings that are under Rent Control or Rent Stabilization Ordinances (RSO) to stem the loss of affordable housing units due to demolition, condo conversion, and exemption of rent-stabilized and rent-controlled units from jurisdictions  that have rent control or RSO by opposing policies that allow any city, county, or state agency whose mission is to provide affordable housing to purchase rent-controlled / RSO buildings to circumvent that mission by purchasing such buildings for the purpose of exempting those buildings from rent control or RSO.

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.  We support decriminalization of sex acts committed by individuals forced into human trafficking.


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