SAN FRANCISCO--Lloyd W. Aubry, Jr., director of the Department of Industrial Relations today submitted the following letter of resignation to Governor Pete Wilson:
May 9, 1997
The Honorable Pete Wilson
P.O. Box 942848
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Wilson:
On May 16, I will be leaving my position as Director of the Department of Industrial Relations. You bestowed a great honor on me six years ago by selecting me for this position and I thank you for the opportunity you provided me.
Under your leadership the Department has made significant progress on behalf of employers and employees. We have, I believe, justified the title of our last Biennial Report -- A Tradition of Innovation. In my message in that Report I quoted the mission of the Department as set forth in Labor Code §50.5, "to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners of California . . . and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment." In my view this requires maintaining necessary labor protections while at the same time modifying outdated rules that stifle job creation.
I believe you and the Department have been true to that mission. Over the last six years you have demonstrated courage and conviction by taking unpopular stands on behalf of both employers and employees. These accomplishments have improved the working lives of all Californians -- be they employers or employees.
Looking back at the last six years, you can take pride in a long list of achievements. The most significant of them include:
- The 1993 Workers' Compensation Reform Act which raised benefits significantly to injured workers and reduced the cost of the system by billions of dollars bringing under control a fraud-ridden system that, by consensus, was out of control. California is no longer ranked as one of the highest cost states in the country, while providing some of the lowest benefits.
- Recently, the Department finalized reforms to two outdated regulatory provisions which were highly controversial, but long overdue. By updating the prevailing wage regulations, the prevailing wage will more accurately reflect wage rates in various locations, especially rural areas, providing taxpayer relief and allowing more public construction. By eliminating the daily overtime rule and conforming California's rule to that of most other States and the federal government, California employees will be able to take advantage of flexible scheduling techniques and compensatory time off, making it easier to harmonize work and family responsibilities.
- In Occupational Safety and Health, you created the High Hazard Program to target and inspect the unsafest employers, and the injury and illness incidence rate in California during the last six years has been reduced by 20 percent to its lowest rate ever. Several years ago you signed legislation banning smoking in most workplaces and in May, the OSHA Standards Board adopted the first ergonomics standard in the nation.
- In 1992, the Targeted Industries Partnership Program (TIPP) was created in the Labor Commissioner's office. Recently, this pioneering program was awarded a Council of State Governments' Innovation Award -- a richly deserved award for the program that uncovered the notorious El Monte slave operation. Legislation banning discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation was signed by you in 1992, and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has been enforcing that law successfully ever since.
- We have begun to expand the apprenticeship concept around the state by initiating School-to-Career Pilot Programs in non-traditional occupations. We also successfully defended state authority over apprenticeship on public works, taking our case all the way to the United States Supreme Court to do so.
- Most DIR materials are now on the Internet, including a database for garment manufacturers and retailers to check the license status of garment contractors helping to ensure that only licensed contractors, who have demonstrated an understanding of our labor laws, will be used.
- Over the last six years, significant additional resources have been added for workers' compensation, the Cal/OSHA program and the State Labor Commissioner, demonstrating your commitment to enforcing the Department's laws in the face of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
I am very proud of the Department's accomplishments under your leadership. You, too, should be proud that we and you did not drift through the last six years and simply maintain the status quo. You have done a great deal to improve the state of the workplace in California and I am sure your achievements in this area will be long remembered.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you as your Director. I will always look back on my tenure with fondness and appreciation. I wish Gayle and you the best in the future and thank you for all the personal kindness you have shown to Lee and me.
Very truly yours,
Lloyd W. Aubry, Jr. Director