Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs SB 674, California’s High Road Jobs Program, Into Law
Law will support creation and retention of quality jobs in green transit manufacturing
SACRAMENTO, CA –Today, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 674, California’s High Road Jobs Program, which supports the creation and retention of quality, non-temporary, full-time jobs in green transit manufacturing.
The law requires state contracts for zero-emission transit vehicles or electric vehicle supply equipment valued at over $10 million to incorporate minimum high-road job standards into their contracts. These high-road standards include requiring contractors to certify that they aren’t misclassifying workers and are complying with health and safety regulations, sick leave, and ADA requirements and allows public agencies to incorporate additional high road job factors, such as job creation, wages, and benefits, into their scoring criteria for bids on contracts. SB 674 also safeguards against work stoppages that could impede production.
“California has just seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve our air quality, reduce our carbon footprint, and, critically, support quality jobs while doing so. The High Road Jobs Program will help us achieve good jobs in the green transit sector while also cutting emissions as quickly as possible to mitigate the long-term effects of climate change,” says Sen. María Elena Durazo, the bill’s author. “Without accountability to good jobs, billionaire corporations will benefit while workers are marginalized to the sidelines of the emerging green sector economy. With the High Road Jobs Program, we can ensure that workers are at the center of our transition to zero-emission transit.”
“All Californians deserve clean air and strong communities. With this bill now law, we’re closer than ever to making this a reality,” said Melanie J. Prasad, Legal Director of Jobs to Move America, which sponsored the bill. “Transitioning to zero-emission transportation is a vital step in reducing California’s emissions. The High Road Jobs Program supports the creation of high-quality manufacturing jobs that fuel the shift to zero-emission transit, while also protecting the state’s interest in rolling out zero-emission vehicles as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Transportation accounts for the largest single source of greenhouse gasses in California. In 2018, Governor Newsom issued an executive order requiring California to reach carbon neutrality by 2045. To reach this goal, the state will need to make major investments in green energy. However, a University of Massachusetts study shows that the average quality of clean energy jobs lags significantly behind those in the fossil fuel industry when it comes to factors like wages and benefits. SB 674 aims to support the creation of higher-quality jobs as California works to meet its climate commitments.
“Without policy intervention, it could take decades for clean energy jobs to reach the same level of quality as fossil fuel jobs. And without secured, high quality jobs for fossil fuel workers to transition into, the economic cost of the transition to clean energy will be significantly higher,” said Emily Gartenberg, Jobs to Move America’s Senior Policy Coordinator. “That’s why the High Road Jobs Program is such an important win for California’s workers.”
About Jobs to Move America (jobstomoveamerica.org)
Jobs to Move America is a strategic policy center that works to transform public spending and corporate behavior using a comprehensive approach that is rooted in racial and economic justice and community organizing. We seek to advance a fair and prosperous economy with good jobs and healthier communities for all.