Recent news of Uber & Lyft drivers organizing in support of California’s AB 5 offered a powerful reminder that, despite the erosion of federal workplace protections in recent years, California workers continue to win important legal protections at the state and local levels. This year, Centro Legal’s workers’ rights team has supported efforts to ensure that workers, including Uber & Lyft drivers, who have been misclassified as independent contractors are able to enjoy the basic protections afforded employees through passage of AB 5.

We have also joined with Worksafe and other allies to support efforts to enact standards to protect outdoor workers from exposure to unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke. On July 18, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to adopt an emergency rule on wildfire smoke risks, and on August 27, staff attorney Stephanie Medina represented Centro Legal to offer testimony and support for a permanent¬† wildfire smoke standard at a Cal/OSHA advisory meeting.

Here in Oakland, Centro Legal has worked together with a coalition of community organizations and unions to ensure that the City of Oakland creates a strong Department of Workplace and Employment Standards to enforce local legal protections for Oakland workers. Centro Legal clients met with the Mayor and shared their stories with the media to highlight the importance of effective enforcement of workplace rights. We are excited to report that the City of Oakland’s 2019-2021 budget set aside substantial new funding for this new department.

This Labor Day, it is heartening to be reminded of these local and State efforts to expand protections and ensure stable and dignified work. Centro Legal will continue to join in such efforts to ensure that our clients’ experiences, stories, and priorities shape the policies affecting their lives.