SAN FRANCISCO--"As 1995 draws to a close it is important to look back at the year to determine what has been accomplished and what remains to be done to help make California a vibrant state in which to live, work and do business," said Lloyd W. Aubry, Jr., Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations. "With that in mind, we have summarized a few of the varied accomplishments of the Department and present some of the issues that will appear before us in the coming year."
DIR officially filed notice to begin public hearings on proposed regulations that could save the taxpayers millions of dollars by bringing two important aspects of California's prevailing wage rules into conformance with federal law. DIR has proposed changes in the way the State calculates the prevailing wage on public works projects. The change will save government entities up to $200 million a year in labor costs while at the same time ensuring that a fair and living wage is paid to everyone employed on the project. DIR has also proposed that the "double asterisk" provision of the law be repealed. This regulatory provision requires that prevailing wages automatically increase under certain circumstances -- and is a provision that goes well beyond federal requirements to inflate the cost of public works projects. The changes will bring California into line with the way 47 other states and the federal government calculate the prevailing wage.
Results In Workers Compensation Reform
As a LA Times columnist stated in a recent commentary, "Let's also thank all those who fought in the business climate reform movement. To some, California was once infamous for being about as inviting to business as communist Bulgaria....but at least we have put a stake in the heart of the most obnoxious impediment -- the notorious workers' compensation system that was piling unnecessary costs on all businesses and crushing small ones..."
Overall rates are for workers compensation are 41% lower than in 1993.
Industry watchers believe that premiums may drop as low as $5 billion per year in the near future.
Risk managers doing business in California believe that since reform, rates have dropped 30% to 40% on average.
These accomplishments will allow business in the State to pump those savings into job creation, helping California to once again, lead the nation in job growth.
Workplace Safety and Health
Labor Law Enforcement
In one of the most highly visible enforcement actions in the history of the Department, T.I.P.P. investigators, led personally by the Labor Commissioner in a pre-dawn raid last August, uncovered slave-like conditions in a barbed wire-ringed apartment complex in El Monte, east of Los Angeles. The 72 workers there had toiled day and night for up to six years, making clothing that found its way into mainstream commerce. The enforcement action riveted that nation's attention on abuses if illegal immigrants in the industry and served as an example of the ultimate consequences that can befall those who find their way into the workforce as a result of lax enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.
Access to information on all of DIR's programs is now available through the Internet. Our address is http://www.dir.ca.gov or we can also be found through the California Home Page at http://www.ca.gov and comments and suggestions may also be directed to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(For more information on these accomplishments and issues, please feel free to contact the above number or access our Home Page on the Internet.)