As the country recovers from the pandemic and works to fight the worst of the climate crisis, investments in infrastructure and clean transit will be key to stimulating local economies. And thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, or the infrastructure bill) and the Inflation Reduction Act, federal dollars will be flowing to our communities to spark this much-needed rebuilding. But cities and states must ensure these investments result in quality jobs. That’s why we’re supporting SB 674, a bill sponsored by California Sen. María Elena Durazo.
What’s at stake
As climate change continues to wreak havoc on weather patterns worldwide, experts agree that California will experience an increased prevalence of severe wildfires, heat, drought, and rising sea levels. In addition to the extreme threat to human health, safety, and quality of life, without a swift reduction in emissions, climate change will lead to hundreds of billions of dollars in losses across the state’s industries.
Moving to zero emission transportation vehicles as quickly and efficiently as possible is a vital step in reducing emissions. But as we make these needed changes, we cannot fall into poor labor standards for the workers making our transition to green transportation possible.
On average, the job quality standards of clean energy jobs lag significantly behind those in the fossil fuel industry. Wages for workers in various clean energy sectors often fall far short of those in combustion-based industries, and the extent of health insurance coverage in the clean energy industries generally ranges between 34–48%, compared to 70% in the fossil fuel industry. 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.
How it works
SB 674 supports the creation and retention of quality, non-temporary and full-time green manufacturing jobs that provide high wages, good benefits, and access to training. It does so by requiring 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. SB 674 also supports the state’s interest in rolling out zero-emission vehicles as quickly and efficiently as possible, by safeguarding against work stoppages that could impede production. Contractors must annually recertify that they are in compliance with the bill provisions, or else pay a fine. SB 674 also allows public agencies to incorporate additional high road job factors, such as job creation, wages, and benefits, into their scoring criteria.
SB 674 is sponsored by longtime labor and social justice advocate Senator Maria Elena Durazo and a coalition of labor, community, industry and environmental organizations across the state.
How to help
We’ll need your help in urging our elected representatives to make this critical legislation law. Fill out the form below to receive updates on the bill’s progress and on how you can make your voice heard.
California cannot keep fueling a deeply inequitable economy. We need to rebuild our state and invest in our future with a focus on worker- and equity-centered public infrastructure.
The bill passed the Assembly, and now it’s on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk to sign. Will you send him an email letting him asking him to #PassSB674?