On Thursday, April 27, staff from Worksafe, Street Level Health Project, and members of Oakland Workers Collective (OWC) traveled to Sacramento to advocate for legislation to strengthen workplace protections for day laborers and immigrant workers. OWC, better known as La Colectiva, is a project of Street Level Health that creates pathways to safe and dignified employment for contingent workers at risk of exploitation and uses civic engagement and other activities to empower workers.
Nicole Marquez, Evelyn Torres, and Tim Shadix from Worksafe joined OWC staff and eight members of La Colectiva for meetings with seven legislative offices in the State Capitol. Worksafe and OWC emphasized the connection to Workers Memorial Day and highlighted the disproportionate impact of workplace hazards on Latino workers. They advocated for bills introduced this legislative session that would strengthen protections for workers who face retaliation for reporting labor violations (SB 306, Hertzberg), provide state funding to support public defender’s offices in representing immigrant Californians and avoiding deportation (AB 3, Bonta), eliminate requirements in workers’ compensation law that exclude day laborers from coverage (AB 206, Garcia), and establish guidelines to help protect workers during worksite immigration enforcement (AB 450, Chui).
During the legislative meetings, La Colectiva members explained how these bills would help ensure basic civil rights and dignity. They shared personal experiences with contingent work and explained how the proposed legislation would affect them personally. When asked what they thought of the lobby experience, one worker said she felt heard -- that her story mattered. For many, it was their first time visiting the State Capitol, and members left with plans to continue their advocacy for security and dignity in the workplace and broader community.