An effort to help workers recover back wages by allowing them to slap liens on their employers’ property failed Thursday in the California Senate when numerous Democrats withheld their votes.
The failure of Assembly Bill 2416 demonstrated the power of the California Chamber of Commerce, which had labeled the measure a “job killer.” Employers argued the bill would have launched costly and unfair legal battles. Labor unions who backed the bill said it would solve a current problem, where filing claims for stolen wages can take more than a year, giving employers the chance to close shop.
“AB 2416 provides workers who are victims of wage theft with an avenue to claim the wages they are rightfully owed,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, as he presented the bill by Assemblyman Mark Stone on the Senate floor.
As Lara spoke, workers from the SEIU union watched from the gallery above. The bill failed when it received only 13 yes votes, leaving the measure eight votes short of passage. It is eligible for reconsideration on Friday.