New California Labor Agency Planned

Gov. Gray Davis proposing consolidation of agencies.

by / April 19, 2002
After vetoing legislation that would create a Labor and Workforce Development Agency in California, Gov. Gray Davis recently proposed a similar consolidation which would pull the Economic Development Department, the Department of Industrial Relations, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the Workforce Investment Board together into one super-agency.

Davis' State of the State address, in which he made the surprise announcement, he described the current California system as "a $4.6-billion Goliath made up of 34 different programs in 13 different agencies."

The proposal is expected to go into effect this summer unless the California Legislature opposes the plan, something observers suggest is unlikely.

Labor unions have long been in favor of such a consolidation, as they believe that it will ensure better enforcement of wage, workers' compensation and unemployment insurance laws. As well, the new agency should enhance cooperation between and the Industrial Relations Department and Economic Development Department, which until how have separately dealt enforcement, training and research.

By improving information and statistic exchange between what had been up to now separate agencies, problem industries can be better targeted for training and development.

As well, Gov. Davis believes that the new plan will eliminate some duplicated efforts and save the state money while fostering better coordination and cooperation between the government, the employer community and labor unions.
Blake Harris Editor
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