California Building Trades Finally Admit Their Attack Against Assemblywoman Garcia Is Payback For Her Advocacy For Working Families and Environmental Justice

by: Leo Briones

As chair of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee, Assemblywoman Garcia, has moved the environmental dialogue to recognize the need to create policies that address public health concerns in working communities.

Downey, CA‚Äst After months of political attacks, State Building and Construction Trades Council President Robbie Hunter finally acknowledged that the true reason for his groups onslaught of attacks against Assemblywoman Garcia are directly related to her successful fight for higher environmental justice standards on key climate change legislation. Her legislation represents an unprecedented victory for working communities of color and offers them a future of clean air, clean water, and clean land.

On Friday, May 11, 2018 the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC)‚Äďa close political ally of Big Oil‚Äďissued a Building Trades Bulletin quoting SBCTC President Robbie Hunter stating ‚ÄúGarcia has been targeting our workers and our jobs. We in the Building Trades will vigorously oppose her.‚ÄĚ

The blitz of accusations by SBCTC and the creation of the Super PAC Working Californians Against Corruption aimed at opposing Assemblywoman Garcia’s reelection are an unprecedented attack on a key labor ally and represent a pivotal moment in California’s aspirations to lead the world in clean energy generation and green job creation. To be sure, Assemblywoman Garcia has had a 100% voting record for four years running on the California Labor Federation legislative scorecard. Additionally, she has received 100% scores and A grades from AFSCME, CTA, CFT, and United Domestic Workers.

In February of 2017, Assemblywoman Garcia authored AB 378 to update California’s cap-and-trade program.  The authoring of AB 378 set the Assemblywoman on course to finally provide a voice to California’s populations whose health is particularly vulnerable to industrial pollution because of their neighborhoods proximity to the source pollution. Previous versions of the bill did not adequately address these public health issues.  On April 18, 2017 the Assemblywoman adopted major amendments to AB 378 to address those issues.

From those amendments on April 18, 2017 the State Building and Construction Trades Council leadership set itself on a path to openly attack Assemblywoman Garcia and attempt to punish her for choosing the health and well-being of the residents of her district over the political power of Big Oil and Big Polluters.

Throughout 2017, Assemblywoman Garcia‚Äôs commitment to stand firm and demand environmental justice issues be addressed in any cap-and-trade extension was covered widely by major media outlets (including the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, The Sacramento Bee,¬†¬†Bloomberg BNA, The Huffington Post.) ¬†Her work eventually led to Governor Brown coming to visit her Southeast Los Angeles County District to see firsthand the concerns that she was fighting for.¬† This tour and further discussions eventually led to an agreement on legislation that extended California‚Äôs cap-and-trade system and for the first time in California history offered initial and substantial steps to address environmental justice issues by creating aggressive criteria to clean up so-called pollution ‚Äúhot spots,‚ÄĚ in working communities.

‚ÄúLast year Governor Brown worked with me to come up with the first step to institute real solutions to remedy the historical neglect of public health issues for communities, like mine, that have been treated like the wastelands of industrial polluters. He saw that need first-hand when he toured my district. I thank him for acting in the name of environmental justice and the people by signing my bill into law. I stand firm by the people of my district and will continue to work to address decades of exclusion on important issues such as environmental justice.¬† I ask every stakeholder of good will to reject bullying tactics against anyone simply fighting for the public health of their community.‚ÄĚ



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