Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Resigns to Lead California Labor Federation

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Resigns to Lead California Labor Federation
A file photo of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez on Nov. 22, 2015. (Seattle City Council)

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) announced that she will resign Jan. 5 from the 80th District seat and lead the nation’s largest labor federation of unions.

During an Assembly meeting Monday, Gonzalez said she will become the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, with 2 million workers in industries including manufacturing, retail, construction, hospitality, public sector, health care, and entertainment.

“I’m grateful for the timing because I’d rather do this than be Secretary of State,” Gonzalez said Monday. “Redistricting was tough. I had tough decisions to make. It would have worked itself out. That’s part of life.”

Gonzalez is anticipated to take the role of Chief Officer of the Federation, after the federation’s current Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski’s anticipated retirement in July, according to the labor federation.

In the past eight years, Gonzalez has been fighting aggressively on raising the minimum wage, ensuring paid sick leave, and expanding overtime laws and workplace rights for California workers.

In October 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 881, authored by Gonzalez, which prevents exported mixed plastic waste shipped overseas from being counted toward the state’s recycling goals.

Assembly Bill 48, authored by Gonzalez, was also signed into law in September 2021, establishing California’s first statewide standards regulating the use of projectile weapons such as rubber bullets and chemical agents by law enforcement for crowd control.

In the same month, Gonzalez’s Assembly Bill 1003 for wage theft was also signed into law. This bill makes employers who committed wage theft for a value exceeding $950 a crime of grand theft.

Assembly Bill 701 by Gonzalez takes effect this month, requiring large warehouse distribution centers, such as Amazon Warehouse, to disclose production quotas and prohibits employers from enforcing unsafe production quotas that prevent employees from using the bathroom, taking breaks, or complying with safety laws.

To protect children from sexual abuse, Gonzalez’s Assembly Bill 506, that was signed into law, will require all staff and regular volunteers of youth service organizations to complete background checks and child abuse prevention training beginning January 2022.

In response to Gonzalez’s resignation, Todd Gloria, the mayor of San Diego, described Gonzalez as “the fiercest fighter for workers, immigrants and women” and recognized all the efforts that Gonzalez has done as an Assemblywoman representing San Diego.

“She’s been an effective legislator for San Diego and we’ll miss her leadership in the Assembly,” Gloria wrote on Twitter.