Yesterday, the LA County Board of Supervisors, without any discussion, moved to adopt a Public Health Council pilot program targeting four industries: warehousing & storage, food manufacturing, restaurants, and apparel manufacturing.
They also directed county staff to draft an anti-retaliation ordinance for employees who report COVID-19 violations. Full county motion and supporting documents can be read here.
The LA Times also published an article highlighting the purpose of Public Health Councils summarizing labor and business perspectives. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and BizFed were both referenced.
“The motion has been opposed by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which has said it should not be broadly applied to industry sectors.
In a Nov. 9 letter to Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the Los Angeles County Business Federation, known as BizFed, encouraged the county to defer the establishment of public health councils, stating that it has “chosen to apply a fundamentally flawed process to target business owners with increased County scrutiny and frequently changing regulations at the most challenging time.”
It expressed concern about the proposed anti-retaliation ordinance, saying that efforts to pass another worker protection law are unnecessary, and requested that the county impose penalties for false claims of violations.
Sarah Wiltfong, BizFed’s policy manager, said the public health councils should only be used as a remedial action.
“‘We don’t know if they are necessary across the board, especially if the business is in compliance,” she said. “It seems to add several different layers to trying to get businesses in compliance as opposed to working with the Department of Public Health directly.'”
The Public Health Council program has been significantly reduced in scope since it was first introduced at the end of July this year – when the original report back contained feedback from 18 labor organizations and only 4 business organizations.
Thanks to the work of the business community the program is only focused on four industries, it is voluntary for both the employees and the employers, has a sunset after the COVID-19 emergency orders lift, and a required report back of progress after 6 to 12 months.
We are grateful that the Department of Public Health and the LA County Board of Supervisors listened to business concerns on this matter – and we will continue to watch the program as it is implemented and keep our members informed as it progresses.
If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your corner,
Founding CEO, BizFed