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If Amazon came to your city promising to create 50,000 jobs in exchange for over a billion dollars in dollars in tax credits and grants, could you easily access records verifying the existence of those jobs? In California, the answer right now is: not really. That’s why a broad coalition of community, labor, environmental, and good governance groups are coming together to advocate for SB749, because we have a right to know!

Here’s why SB749 is a win for Californians:

  1. A common-sense bill. SB749 will make sure that all information supplied by companies about job creation, job access, and job quality in state and local contracts is transparent and accessible to the public.
  2. She’s got our back. SB749 is sponsored by Senator Maria Elena Durazo, a long time community, labor, and immigrant rights activist. Thank you for sponsoring this bill, Senator!
  3. Accountability is everything. Right now, when community and advocacy groups like ours request information about the jobs created under a public contract, companies can block access by claiming this information is a trade secret and thus protected by law. As a result, people looking for basic information about how our taxpayer dollars are spent can get stuck in months of costly lawsuits. The public — that’s us! — needs access to this information in order to hold companies accountable to their promises on everything from job creation to wages, benefits, and working conditions.
  4. Let’s focus on what’s important. We’ve seen numerous examples of companies that create fewer or lower quality jobs than promised, and then hide that information from the public. SB749 will fix this problem and make sure that jobs information is part of the public record, so we can focus on what really matters: clean air, good jobs, and stronger communities.
  5. Don’t listen to the business lobby. No court in California has found that information companies disclose about jobs, wages, or benefits in a public contract should be considered a trade secret. In fact, California courts have said that ensuring these records are accessible to our communities is in the public interest.
  6. Good jobs = we all win. In the past few years, more California public agencies have asked the companies bidding for public contracts to create good jobs with family-sustaining wages as part of their end of the deal. These good jobs create ripple effects in local economies, creating even more jobs and strengthening our communities! SB749 will help us make sure our taxpayer dollars go toward creating more of these good jobs.
  7. A good deal. SB749 will actually save government agencies valuable money and time because current public records law will be clarified to emphatically state that jobs commitments are not a trade secret.
  8. We mean partnership. When communities have access to information to hold companies accountable, we can create meaningful partnerships between businesses and community groups like electric bus manufacturer BYD’s Community Benefits Agreement with the California Jobs to Move America Coalition.
  9. Strong support. Over 20 labor, community, environmental, and good governance groups are supporting SB749! Big shout out to our partners at Green Lining, ACT-LA, IBEW569, IBEW11 SMART 105, In the Public Interest, LA County Bus Coalition, Black Worker Center and many others!
  10. Your voice matters! We need your help. If you think transparency and accountability when it comes to how corporations use our public dollars are good things,click here to send a letter to your Assembly Member telling them to #PassSB749!

Abhilasha Bhola is the Senior Policy Coordinator at Jobs to Move America.

Correction: An earlier version of this blog post referred to “IBEW59” instead of “IBEW569”. That correction has been made.

Image: Armando Aparicio

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