Businesses struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic have yet another obstacle in their way: The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). In Senator Hertzberg’s own district, dozens of major employers have been targeted by PAGA — a harmful law that can tie businesses up in expensive legal battles for even a minor infraction of the state’s over 1,100 pages of labor law.
That’s why the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) took out a full-page ad in USA Today calling out Senator Hertzberg for being “Missing in Action” when the employers in his own district — and throughout the state — need him the most.
The ad informs viewers that “since March, over 3,000 California businesses were hit with PAGA lawsuits — many in the Senator’s district.” While employers struggle to stay afloat, the Senator is “more focused on helping his labor union donors.”
Hertzberg voted with labor 93 percent of the time in 2019, and 100 percent in 2018. In 2019 he supported labor-backed bills including AB 1291 and AB 378. The first bill required cannabis businesses to enter into Labor Peace Agreements, and the second authorized collective bargaining for child care workers.
The Senator is on track to have another great voting record with labor in 2020. Since the start of coronavirus, Hertzberg has sided with labor unions on several pieces of legislation, including SB 1257, a labor-backed bill regarding employment safety standards for Domestic Service Employees; SB 1383, a labor-backed bill regarding family leave protections; and ACA 5, another labor-backed bill that established a constitutional amendment repealing a prohibition on affirmative action policies.
Still, there’s been little sign of effort on his part to provide relief to struggling businesses facing PAGA suits.
Meanwhile, CABIA has sent a letter to Governor Newsom urging him to put a pause on lawsuits filed under PAGA until after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
Tom Manzo, President and Founder of CABIA, released this statement on the group’s latest ad:
“Senator Hertzberg would rather see businesses get kicked while they’re already down than intervene where PAGA is concerned. Even the employers in his own district can’t seem to count on him to stand up against these harmful and often frivolous lawsuits. CABIA is calling for a moratorium on PAGA suits until after the coronavirus crisis is over because we realize businesses desperately need to be cut a break. Apparently, Senator Hertzberg doesn’t agree, and his silence on the issue is deafening.”