In sound-bite politics, the California Chamber of Commerce is king.
For nearly two decades, the statewide Chamber has enforced its legislative agenda by dubbing bills unfriendly to the business community as “job-killers.” The frightening label, which holds sway with both Republican and Democratic politicians, has resulted in a 93 percent success rate for the Chamber’s most important issues dating back to 1997.
“Although we will be opposing a number of bills throughout this year, the ‘job killer’ list represents the worst of the worst,” Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce said of the 16 bills on this year’s list. “These proposals will unnecessarily increase costs on California employers that will likely lead to a loss of jobs.”
But look more closely at the Chamber’s list of job-killer bills and you’ll find some interesting selections, such as a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that would – wait for it – ban grocery workers from being laid off.
Assembly Bill 359 would require grocery stores to retain employees during a 90-day transition period during changes in ownership and mandate that grocery workers must be retained based on seniority. CalChamber calls that a “costly employee retention mandate” that “inappropriately alters the employment relationship and increases frivolous litigation.”
Of course, that’s not how Gonzalez sees it.