Residents and businesses of California may be interested to learn about a new state senate bill aiming to end traditional pay-per-piece pay for garment workers. With this standard, these workers sometimes earn an average of $5.15 per hour. SB 1399, the Garment Worker Protection Act, was passed by the California Senate in a 25–11 vote on June 25. It seeks to guarantee a minimum wage for California’s garment workers. The bill must also be approved by the State Assembly.
According to reports, the bill also closes a legal loophole. Retailers will now have more responsibility for the pay level at the factories they contract from. Previously, in wage disputes, sellers of garments at the retail level have disclaimed any responsibility for contractors’ wages.
Opposition to the bill is coming from apparel-industry and business groups. Calling SB 1399 a job killer, the trade group California Fashion Association and the California Chamber of Commerce were opposed. The CFA’s president claimed that the bill would limit opportunities for the better sewers to increase their earnings. She mentioned that the best sewers will not get a bonus and that expert workers would be penalized. However, the new measures also have a lot of support. According to the LA-based Garment Worker Center, a co-sponsor of SB 1399, the bill would ensure that wage-theft violations are lessened.
Wage issues can be overwhelming as well as stressful. A worker facing unfair wage practices could reach out to a lawyer who might answer questions and offer support. In some cases, legal action is necessary to stop employers from exploiting their workers.