MINUTES OF PUBLIC MEETING
INDUSTRIAL WELFARE COMMISSION
October 1, 1999
The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) held a public meeting on Friday, October 1, 1999, at the State Capitol, Room 112, in Sacramento.
Charles (Chuck) H. Center, appointed Chair of the IWC by Governor Gray Davis on September 6, 1999, opened the meeting at 11:02 a.m. Commissioner John J. McCarthy was present as well as Barry D. Broad, William Eugene Dombrowski, and Leslee A. Coleman IWC Commissioners appointed by the Governor effective September 6, 1999. Stephen J. Smith, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR); Andrew R. Baron, Acting IWC Executive Officer; Marguerite Stricklin, Counsel to IWC from the Attorney Generals Office; Lisa Chin, Intern from the University of California, Davis, School of Law; and Cheryl Buckwalter, Recording Secretary, were also present.
Chair Chuck Center welcomed those in attendance to the first 1999 IWC meeting. Director Stephen J. Smith was introduced to simultaneously administer the Oath of Office to Commissioners. Oaths were signed and collected.
Mr. Smith expressed his appreciation for the Commissioners willingness to serve on the IWC and described some of the issues with which this Commission will be dealing and the importance of trying to strike a balance. He offered the DIRs assistance to the IWC.
INTRODUCTION OF COMMISSIONERS
Mr. Center explained his intention for the IWC to operate as fairly as in previous years. He acknowledged his employer Archie Thomas and daughter Jennifer Center.
Commissioners were introduced and given an opportunity to describe their backgrounds and interests.
Mr. Center adjourned the meeting at 11:14 a.m. for a brief closed session to deal with a personnel matter.
PUBLIC MEETING RECONVENED
Mr. Center called the public meeting to order at 11:18 a.m.
Mr. Center introduced Andrew R. Baron as the IWC Executive Officer.
Mr. Baron thanked the Commission for the opportunity. He explained the IWC has enormous work ahead and it is his goal for the IWC to operate efficiently and effectively.
Marguerite Stricklin, Counsel to IWC from the Attorney Generals Office, and Lisa Chin, Intern from the University of California, Davis, School of Law were introduced.
Mr. Baron gave a general overview of mandatory/optional IWC activity stemming from the passage of AB 60. The focus of the next IWC meeting will be to provide opportunity for testimony.
Commissioners were provided with present and historical documentation on wage orders, Labor and Government Codes, AB 60 (Knox) Employment: Overtime.
Mr. Baron presented the status of wage orders under AB 60: All Wage Orders remain intact, except where AB 60 applies across the board, such as in the area of alternative workweeks, until the effective date of wage orders adopted by 7/01/00 concerning procedures for employee alternative/workweek elections as well as if changes are adopted for the industries or occupations listed in the next paragraph, with the exception of 1-98 manufacturing, which reverts to 1-89; 4-98 professional, technical, clerical, mechanical, which reverts to 4-89 as amended in 1993; 5-89 housekeeping, which reverts to 5-89 as amended in 1993; 7-98 mercantile, which reverts to 7-80; and 9-98 transportation, which reverts to 9-90.
IWC Activities Under AB 60
The IWC Shall:
Conduct a review of executive, administrative, professional duties which meet the test for an exemption by 7/01/00 without having to utilize wage boards not exempting nurses or pharmacists from coverage under orders unless they individually meet the exemption above for executive or administrative employees.
Conclude a public hearing by 7/01/00 in order to develop procedures for employee alternative/workweek elections without wage boards.
Conduct a review of the following industries or occupations by 7/01/00: Ski, fishing, health care, stable employees (horseracing), pharmacists, outside salespersons.
Report to legislature on alternative workweek schedules by 7/01/01.
The IWC May:
Convene a public hearing to adopt or modify regulations on executive, administrative or professional duties that meet the test for an exemption, to be concluded by 7/01/00.
Establish additional exemptions until 1/01/05 in any occupation, trade, or industry where it finds that hours or conditions of labor may be prejudicial to the health or welfare of employees. (Labor Code authorizes this now and in the future.)
Review, retain, or eliminate any exemption in effect in 1997, except as otherwise provided in this division of the Labor Code. Nothing requires the IWC to alter any exemption in a valid wage order in effect in 1997, except to repeal an exemption that lapses on 7/01/00.
Convene public hearing(s) concerning the industries/occupations listed above, to be concluded by 7/01/00.
Adopt or amend orders for break periods, meal periods, or days of rest.
The potential issuance of a legislative advisory bulletin from the IWC is being explored. Although uncertain if an advisory bulletin will be implemented, the IWC needs to hear from employers and employers need to be aware of their responsibilities and liabilities.
Mr. Center opened the floor for public comment and announced this time was not intended for debate. Comments can also be directed to the IWC Chair or Executive Officer.
Richard Holober, California Labor Federation, agreed it is important for both employers and workers to be aware of changes effective 1/01/00 so employers can comply with the law and employees rights can be understood. Placing notices in employee lunchrooms was suggested. Regarding the daily overtime issue, Mr. Holober felt the IWC did the right thing regarding 8-hour day laws, due to problems a few years ago.
Julianne Broyles, California Chamber of Commerce, explained this is one of the most balanced approaches to help and not unduly penalize. The Chamber wants to help the IWC and will provide input on problem points they perceive, e.g., examining unfair language such as consecutive workweek.
Thomas R. Luevano, Sutter Health, inquired about the IWC hosting public meetings versus public hearings and duly noticing the public of scheduled meetings.
Mr. Baron explained AB 60 is not in effect until January 1, 2000, and until then, the IWC will be fact finding. A sign-in sheet will be utilized at future meetings; the next meeting will be scheduled in November 1999. Mr. Baron advised the public would be duly noticed of meetings.
James O. Abrams, California Hotel & Motel Association explained that it would be helpful for the IWC to let employers and employee representatives know the type of information and facts the IWC wants to receive.
It was explained to Mr. Abrams and the audience that, in essence, the IWC is starting fresh because record keeping ceased over two years ago. The IWC wants to have a comprehensive view of each industry, e.g., nature of work, compensation, hard data, etc. All information is welcome.
Willie Washington, California Manufacturers Association, will submit his questions and concerns to the IWC and suggested that someone from the Labor Commissioners office attend meetings so commissioners can address questions. The IWC will try to arrange for a representative to attend meetings.
Letter from Assemblymember Wally Knox. Mr. Center read a letter from Mr. Knox welcoming back the IWC and congratulating new appointees. Mr. Knox looks forward to working with the IWC implementation of daily overtime, sick leave, and other labor issues.
COMMISSION DISCUSSION IWC ACTIVITY CONCERNING THE MINIMUM WAGE
By statute, "the Commission shall conduct a full review of the adequacy of the minimum wage at least once every two years." The statute further states that "the commission may, upon its own motion or upon petition, amend or rescind any order or portion of any order or adopt an order covering any occupation, trade, or industry not covered by an existing order pursuant to this chapter.
Pursuant to Statute 1173, motion that the Industrial Welfare Commission reviews the minimum wage every two years.
Vote: Carried 5-0.
Mr. Center opened the floor for public comment.
Richard Holober, California Labor Federation, informed the IWC he sent a request for review of the minimum wage increase to them and explained the mandate of the Commission is to ensure the minimum wage is sufficient. California has the lowest minimum wage on the West Coast. Oregons minimum wage is $6.50 per hour and Washingtons will be $6.50 as of 1/1/00. He explained that three to three and one-half million people in California are at or below the minimum wage. More testimony will be brought to the IWC; an increase is long overdue.
Abdi Soltani, Californians for Justice, explained this organization was founded in 1995 and works for civil rights. He explained economics differ throughout the state, but low wages in the retail and service industries are consistent. Mr. Soltani was asked to forward to the IWC the three areas of concern that he described regarding cost of living and demographics of minimum wage workers.
Roger White, ACORN Community Organization, explained this is a national association and the majority of its membership comprise adults and families. ACORN looks forward to working with the IWC.
Julianne Broyles, California Chamber of Commerce, explained that the Chamber does not have a position yet on what the minimum wage should be and described a recent article in the Sacramento Bee about the increase in income of Californians being at the highest level since the late 1960s. It is important to maintain economic fairness with other states in order to compete for business. The IWC would like to obtain the Census Bureaus report.
To adjourn the meeting at 12:06 p.m.
Vote: Carried 5-0.
Date: November 8, 1999