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Right now, California is investing billions of dollars to purchase zero-emission transit vehicles. These new vehicles will have an enormous impact on the state’s carbon footprint, creating healthier communities and cleaner air. And with the right policies, we have the opportunity to leverage this historic investment in transportation and infrastructure to support good, community sustaining jobs.​

However, often public investments like this create jobs that are low-paying, temporary, and with few benefits, and sometimes employees are intentionally misclassified so they aren’t able to receive benefits. All told, job standards in the clean energy sector still lag behind those the fossil fuel industry.

That’s why a coalition of community, labor, and environmental organizations have come together to advocate for Senate Bill 674, California’s High Road Jobs Program. SB 674 would require public contracts to have a set of minimum high-road job standards, including requiring certification that employees aren’t misclassified. It also allows public agencies to incorporate additional high-road factors, such as wage or benefits commitments, into their scoring criteria for bids. 

Here’s how the High Road Jobs Program will benefit Californians:

  1. It’s a win-win. Public agencies across the state are investing in zero-emission transportation to lower our carbon footprint and improve air quality. With SB 674, we can amplify the community co-benefits of these investments by incorporating high road job standards into covered transportation contracts. 
  2. Investment in green infrastructure promotes long-term job growth. Every $1 million invested in renewable energy creates 7.5 full-time jobs. The High Road Jobs Program will allow us to maximize the return on investment from our public spending. 
  3. A race to the top. Our current process for awarding public contracts typically ignores important factors like job creation, training opportunities, and quality benefits. SB 674 provides a framework that public agencies can use to reward bidders that commit to doing more for workers and their communities.
  4. Accountability to the public. Under SB 674, contractors are required to show that they’ve made good on their promises to the public agency. If they don’t comply, the bill contains clear enforcement measures to keep companies accountable to their commitments.  
  5. Strong support across the state. The High Road Jobs Program is supported by labor, community, and environmental organizations across California. Californians agree: we need quality zero-emission transit vehicles, and we need those vehicles to be built by workers who earn good wages and benefits. 

SB 674 is sponsored by Senator Maria Elena Durazo, a longtime community, labor, and immigrant rights activist. Thank you for sponsoring this bill, Senator!

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?

Let’s get the most out of every public dollar we spend. Let’s make the High Road Jobs Program law!

Associated Press Posts