San Diego Policy Victories Will Mean Better Jobs for Many

December 20, 2008 -- Center on Policy Initiatives

The Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) won important policy battles in 2008 that set the stage for major improvements in the lives of local workers.  The new policies will make it tougher for developers and contractors to pay poverty wages and deny employee health coverage, raising the standard of living for many working families.

Good jobs now a goal for future development

In March, CPI and our allies succeeded in adding a commitment to living wages to San Diego's plan for future development.  The city's General Plan now declares that development should bring good jobs that pay enough so "families can make ends meet without assistance."  Future development proposals will be judged by this important new yardstick.

Workers, quality services and taxpayers protected from privatization

As the San Diego Mayor pushed to privatize city services, CPI focused attention on the potential impacts on the people doing the jobs as well as on service quality and cost for all city residents.  In July, the City Council approved our proposals to protect quality services and workers’ healthcare coverage.  With the Mayor's "managed competition" plan now stalled by a court order, our protections are key to the re-negotiations with city unions.

Living wages and healthcare for subcontract workers

In October, we won approval of a strong package of amendments to San Diego's living wage law, strengthening enforcement and extending the living wage to more workers.

Based on evidence gathered by CPI and our allies through field outreach to workers, the City Council increased penalties for contractors who violate the law, added whistleblower protections and set a fair process for worker complaints.  The council also closed loopholes and removed exemptions so the living wage requirements will apply to employees of many more contractors.

Taking it to the next level

Our work in 2009 will build on these successes to make real change for working people.  We will actively pursue enforcement of the living wage law with targeted campaigns against violators.  We will make sure that new construction projects funded by school bonds include labor agreements setting standards for middle-class jobs and career paths.  And we are working with national partners to build a movement and resource center to fight privatization and champion good government.

To watch a video on the highlights of CPI's work in 2008, click here.