Labor Law Reform is Long Overdue

Tom Manzo
President, Timely Prefinished Steel Door Frames and President and Chairman of the Board at California Business and Industrial Alliance

The California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) was formed last year after the company I work for was assaulted with a wage and hour PAGA Lawsuit. This cost us over a million dollars and will take us years to recover. Late lunches and misclassified safety incentives were the violations we committed. Our flexible schedule and rewarding employees for safe behavior is a something you should not do in California. If an employee wants to come in early so he can go see his child at a school event we can no longer accommodate such a request. We do not have the staff to keep track of employees punching in and out at different times, and employees are not interested in eating lunch by themselves or at odd times due to the 5 hour requirement. This lawsuit took a perfectly happy “Family Atmosphere” and destroyed it; congratulations lawmakers and your over complicated Labor Law Digest in excess of 1,000 pages.

When I was raised I was taught you get to work on time every day, at least 15 minutes before you punch in. A group of employees showing up to work early, having a cup of coffee, discussing their home lives, will lead you only to a PAGA lawsuit. Some disgruntled employee will see a lawyer and state they should be paid as they are on the premises. All of the laws have only accomplished destroying the spirit of employees and their will to succeed. Get to work exactly at the start time, take you break within a few hours, take your lunch no more than 5 hours after start time, take another break a few hours after, and if you want to work past 10 hours, either take another lunch and if you waive the lunch you have to take another break, and so on. Please do not forget to document everything or it will cost you when you get sued.

It is time for real reform and real change. We need to make educated and informed decisions when it comes to Labor Laws. It is over regulated and over complicated and will not get better unless we do something about it. CABIA is growing our membership daily with all different sized companies as all of us feel there is need to reform.  My reason for this op-ed is simple; we need the large companies to get behind our efforts. It is shocking to me how the major corporations are afraid to get involved and are afraid of bad publicity. When the big companies do leave we never hear the real reasons they are moving out. Nestle who made Hot Pockets in Chatsworth California moved to Kentucky in 2014 and they were the victim of a PAGA lawsuit in 2013. Was this a coincidence? Many companies do not have those types of resources to just pick up and move to another state. There are even more companies who will go out of business we never hear about it. Take Sports Chalet as an example, they are gone, they also fell prey to PAGA less than two years prior to their bankruptcy. The problem is this issue is not exciting news, everyone is more concerned with our president’s Tweets or what outrageous thing one of the Kardashians has done.

The largest corporations need to get behind CABIA and reform our Labor Laws in 2018. I am calling on Google, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, and Space X to give me a call. All of you have been hit with a PAGA lawsuit.Let’s do something about it. It is not a Democratic or Republican issue it is a Californian issue that affects all of us. The large Fortune 500 companies are the ones who could help the most and it is time you did. You can reach me at 818-823-7611.

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