California has built the world’s fifth largest economy of the backs of everyday people who are now barely able to make ends meet. While our leaders continue to throw band-aid solutions into our communities, they continue to demonstrate their allegiance to big business by making backdoor deals with real estate developers, the oil and gas industry and many more. There is a clear lack of upward economic mobility for residents in our district. California’s economic growth should not result in a place that is too expensive for most people to afford. Instead, it should result in innovation, quality jobs, income equity, affordable housing, reliable transportation and sustainable energy resources that produce a better quality of life for everyone.
California is not preparing for the future of jobs, and our communities are suffering. Understanding where economic growth is predicted is critical for ensuring we are able to properly prepare for the future. For example, personal care aides are predicted to have the highest job growth rate in coming years, yet still make on average less than $12 an hour. The people that fill these roles “are overwhelmingly women of color, and disproportionately Black women” according to a recent New York Times article. California must pay attention to existing areas of expected growth, such as with care workers, and ensure those industries progress with livable wages, healthy working conditions, and opportunities for workers to protect themselves and unionize.
As California transitions towards a greener economy, new jobs will also emerge in construction and in other industries that will help fill gaps created when transitioning out of fossil fuel industries. New training programs will be required to help workers learn new skills. Policies surrounding this job growth must also guarantee livable wages, healthy working conditions, and opportunities for workers to protect themselves and unionize. Building for this future economy in California is critical to ensuring that we build anti-racist policies that address existing racial & economic inequity.
Our economy is California is one of the more inequitable in the country. In California, the mean hourly wage is $29.47 while the median hourly wage is $21.24: this demonstrates how inequitable California’s economy is, how many people are earning less than livable wages, and how many people are living in wealthy excess.
This gap represents an across the board gap in wages. In particular, here in District 65, we have consistently lower wages than other parts of LA for equivalent jobs. On the whole, the average annual wage total for District 65 is $52,200 compared to LA’s $75,700, and California’s $75,800. In the Administration, Support, Waste Management, and Remediation industries, those of us in District 65 make an average of$33,500, compared to $52,600 for LA and $50,900 for California. For Manufacturing, there is an even greater divide: $60,600 for District 65, $78,900 for LA, and $106,500 for California. Black workers also typically have an unemployment rate two times that of white workers. Within our district and our state, there are systemic disparities that must be addressed at the state and local levels through policy to remedy this wage gap.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s letter on the Black-White wage gap.
LA County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group Final Report: Care First, Jail Last.
PPIC’s report on income inequality in California.
This LA Times article on why wage inequity in California is surging
California isn’t doing enough to provide the support parents & caretakers need to support our youth and elders. Instead of giving people the support we need, our state has consistently made things more difficult and therefore less equitable. For example, State Disability Insurance only allows for 60-70% of income earned 5-18 months before the time of pregnancy to be paid to people giving birth or adopting. For many people in California, this is not enough. On top of not providing sufficient income for family leave, California has historically shifted the burden of advocacy for paid leave to new families. For example, in 2018, Governor Brown vetoed AB 568, which would have given 6 weeks of paid maternity leave to women. His rationale was that he thought they should have to earn paid leave through local collective bargaining. We need to be strengthening workers’ rights to unionize and workplace protections, and we need our state government to be furthering this work as well.
Current policy requires parents to file a claim for Paid Family Leave. This not only adds extra paperwork and stress for expecting parents, but places low-income families at a disadvantage. Parents and caretakers should not have to choose which one of them will go back to work in order to survive because they cannot afford to care for their loved one together. We need policies that recognize paid leave as the norm, across gender, profession, income, and age.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
This Employment Development Department overview of paid leave in California
Fatima is ready to fight for the policies California needs to create a more equitable economy. In particular, she’ll fight for redistributing excessive billionaire wealth, holding companies accountable, and guaranteeing a just workweek and benefits for all workers.
California has too many billionaires who hoard their growing wealth, while the state becomes too expensive for many who have lived here their whole lives. Fatima will fight to increase taxes on the extremely wealthy to fund public supports and services through a variety of progressive tax laws. She is proposing:
But we must go beyond merely taxing the extremely wealthy. Companies must start closing the widening gap between their highest-paid and lowest-paid employees. Fatima will fight for a variety of efforts, such as incentives for businesses to increase their minimum wages to an actual living wage; legislation that will hold companies accountable to closing their wage gap, especially for employees of color and women, trans and non-binary employees; approvals of new developments, including housing, to include “community benefits agreements” drafted with long-time community members that counter the effects of gentrification and displacement, particularly when an area is home to predominantly low-income or BIPOC communities; commercial rent stabilization for family-owned or small businesses meeting demand in their communities to protect them from gentrification. In the long term, Fatima will fight for a universal basic income, including for undocumented Californians, so that basic survival does not rely completely on one’s ability to work.
Finally, Fatima will work to ensure a fair work week for everyone. Every worker, including hourly workers, deserve the same benefits and stability given to a well salaried employee. Fatima will fight for extending paid family leave to 12 weeks for every employee without fear of retaliation or demotion; employees earning at or below minimum wage should earn 100% take-home pay to ensure the stability and wellbeing of their family; protections for hourly workers to have predictable schedules, so that they can account for their expected wages and benefits, as well as plan for any other jobs or responsibilities they might have; expanded workers’ rights for undocumented workers to include access to unemployment insurance and protections available to documented workers who face retaliation for union organizing; access to universal, high quality childcare; and raising the minimum wage in California to at least $15 an hour.