CONCORD, Calif. (KRON) — In a subcommittee on Wednesday, East Bay Congressman Mark DeSaulnier introduced the Justice for Local Communities and Workers Act, HR9305. The bill is intended to keep corporations from leaving communities high and dry after mass layoffs.
“What this bill would do is make sure that they mitigate their impacts to not just the workforce, but the local community,” said DeSaulnier, who represents the Concord area.
DeSaulnier says the legislation strengthens the federal Warn Act, which requires corporations provide employees 60 days notice of planned mass layoffs.
“This bill would require the employer not only to nofity the labor department and the employees they’re laying them off, but also to do an impact study that affects the local community and to mitigate those impacts,” DeSaulnier said.
The bill increases penalties for companies that violate federal law which could lead to workers being paid twice the back pay they are owed. It also gives local governments power to sue a company that does not provide the legally required notice of a layoff or closure.
“For Twitter, and now we’re seeing it around the Bay Area, people are laying of their employees without much thought about their workforce, the local community — it’s for the shareholder, and frequently very wealthy people,” said DeSaulnier.
“For the Bay Area, we’re gonna [be] looking like these layoffs in the tech industry for a significant period of time,” DeSaulnier said.
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DeSaulnier says corporations have to do a better job preparing their workforce when announcing mass layoffs, which also impact the surrounding communities.
“If you’ve got a restaurant, and all of a sudden there’s 2,000 people who are working for a large company that no longer work there, your workers, you’re gonna be laying off people there. So, what this bill would do would make sure you have full accountability about your actions,” he said.
This is the second time in two years Congressman DeSaulnier has introduced this bill. Last time, it did not make it out of committee.