Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro

Group files lawsuit against the State over PAGA

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on June 18, 2019

by Tom Manzo -- CABIA

If you are not familiar with PAGA, it stands for the Private Attorney General Act. It was enacted in 2004 and California is the only state in the union that has such a law. These lawsuits are comprised of late lunches, miscalculated incentives or bonuses, inaccurate employee ID numbers, and just about any labor law violation. PAGA deputizes each and every current and former "aggrieved employee" to sue to recover civil penalties on behalf of the State.

The California Business & Industrial Alliance (CABIA) filed a complaint last month against the state to try to fix the situation for everyone involved.

The facts couldn’t be clearer: Rather than helping employees, PAGA has transferred the state’s power to private attorneys who operate for their own personal gain. PAGA was conceived as a means to help employees right workplace wrongs without further burdening the state bureaucracy. Trial attorneys quickly discovered that they could use the law for their own benefit; the penalties from small workplace clerical errors, multiplied across dozens or hundreds of employees, provide big paydays from the plaintiffs’ representatives with minimal effort.

Today, thousands of PAGA complaints are filed annually against large and small businesses, nonprofit charities and even labor unions. The state’s Department of Industrial Relations maintains a database of more than 35,000 PAGA notices filed by trial attorneys between 2004 and present day. The growth in PAGA notices has been astronomical. Between 2004 and 2008, the number of annual PAGA notices more than tripled; between 2008 and 2015, the number of notices tripled again. In 2016, more than 5,000 PAGA complaints were filed — an astonishing 1,440 percent increase from the law’s first year in effect.

Consider a few recent examples: An October 2018 settlement with retail giant Walmart results in $21 million for the attorneys, and a check average of $108 each for the employees; a January 2018 settlement with Uber netted $2.3 million for the lawyers, and $1.08 each for the drivers. And in a $1 million settlement with Google, the attorney got $330k and each employee got $15.50. In our complaint it shows that an error of 2 minutes a day over the course of the year would short the employee $ 28.61 and the penalties would be over $ 69,000. Imagine if you had 30 employees or more?

Labor unions aren’t immune: The United Farm Workers union got hit with a PAGA complaint that cost it $1.3 million — money that is being taken from the dues of farm workers. The Humane Society has been hit; so have the Children’s Homes and the Salvation Army. Even our governor-elect, Gavin Newsom, had a series of PAGA complaints filed against his company PlumpJack Management Group. CABIA's lawsuit isn’t about letting companies skate on wrongdoing; rather, they want the state to do its job and enforce labor law violations.

Tags: PAGA

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Manufacturing 4.0 is here!

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on May 30, 2019

The digital revolution is here. Manufacturing's digital revolution has brought about sweeping and dramatic change to the industry. From the connected factory to the proliferation of data to the leadership and culture necessary to embrace this digital shift, manufacturers of all sizes are exploring how to deploy new technologies and leverage them for a competitive advantage.

This is why CMTA has partnered with the Manufacturing Leadership Summit which takes place June 10-12 in Huntington Beach, CA, and is an event like no other for exploring Manufacturing 4.0 practices. Highlights from this year’s Summit agenda include:

  • A Leadership 4.0 keynote from Dow Chemical Senior VP Peter Holicki
  • Inspiring case studies from 3M and Saint-Gobain
  • Think tanks focused on IT/OT integration, sustainability, digital workforce skills, 5G networks, 3D printing, and more
  • The Manufacturing Leadership Awards program and gala, recognizing operational excellence

More than ever, deploying and integrating these new digital technologies is necessary for remaining competitive. CMTA members are receiving a special invitation to register for this event at the NAM member rate. We hope to see you there!

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#MakingCA is pulsing through the State

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on May 10, 2019

Last week CMTA attended two regional manufacturing summits carrying our message of collaboration and focus to advance manufacturing throughout California. These Summits were hosted by the AMBayArea in Oakland and the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance in Fresno.  We also toured the facility of CMTA's newest member AB&I Foundry in Oakland where we saw firsthand why their 240 workers' average company-longevity is more than 19 years. AB&I makes cast iron pipe and fittings -- mostly from recycled material -- and it's a spectacular place for career growth and opportunity.  The company invested $1 million alone in new training for their workers just last year.

At the Valley Made conference in Fresno we conveyed the State of Manufacturing to the 700 attendees and CMTA President Lance Hastings conducted a live interview on KMJNow (you can listen here, it starts at 6:50) and taped some highlights with Valley PBS that will be packaged into a Central Valley-focused program to be aired in the near future.  The growing passion for manufacturing at the whole conference was palpable. SJVMA's Genelle Kumpe, Troy Brandt, and CMTA member Mike Bettts are driving a resurgence and passion for manufacturing that we should all carry with us throughout the state

At the AMBayArea event we heard about the great opportunities that manufacturers have to re-shore their operations from the Reshoring Institute's Rosemary Coates and the event, put on by James Gardner and his team, should be a fixture for Bay Area manufacturers in the future with tremendously resourceful breakout sessions.

We also atttended Bayer's exciting groundbreaking for their $150 million investment in a new Cell Culture Technology Center in Berkeley.

The #MakingCA agenda is clearly pulsing through California and we couldn't be more excited. 


AB&I Foundry Tour.



LEFT: CMTA's Hastings & DiCaro with CA Forward's Pete Webber   RIGHT: CMTA's Hastings on KMJ Live radio






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Industrial Strength Body Jewelry 'Making CA' with precision & innovation

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on March 28, 2019

This week CompanyWeek and CMTA bring you Industrial Strength Body Jewlery, a Carlsbad based body jewlery manufacturer, with 67 employees, taking a high tech, low tolerance approach akin to aerospace manufacturing.

The privately owned company has operated since 1991, after starting with just one lathe, grinding tools and other components to modify off-the-rack objects from places like Home Depot. The company started as a bedroom operation but now boasts a 28,000 square foot facility in Carlsbad with highly skilled employees, 14 cutting edge Swiss screw machines, nine high precision CNC mills and several CNC lathes.

Founder and CEO JD Lorenz said proudly, "we've always been able to maintain the highest quality," citing mirror-like polished services and Swarovski Crystals. "We're the only body jewlery company, I think, in the United States that can put their name [Swarovski] on our products."

It's companies like these that sprout and grow to provide tremendous California products, great career opportunities and at times new technical skills for our workforce. CMTA is proud of companies like Industrial Strength where quality, innovation and automation are king.  Let's do what we can to help them grow. Some of the opportunites and challenges at Industrial Strength are as follows.

Challenges: Installing a cloud-based ERP system from Sage. "Implementing new software that's organizing everything we do," says Lorenz, from production scheduling to invoicing. With 6,000 components utilized in 250,000 possible configurations, it's no small task. "It's really a complex web."

Opportunities: Gold jewelry. Industrial Strength got out of gold when prices skyrocketed in 2006, but is getting back into it in 2019. "We just invested about $150,000 into state-of-the-art gold casting equipment," says Lorenz.

Needs: Labor. "We just started re-hiring in assembly and polishing and stone-setting," says Lorenz, anticipating five to eight new hires. "It's a balance," he adds. "We are $1 million behind in orders right now. We need more time." READ MORE ON COMPANY WEEK

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SF Chronicle prints CMTA opinion on Dynamex, flexibility in workplace

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on March 26, 2019


Last week the San Francisco Chronicle printed the following opinion by CMTA president Lance Hastings on the need for flexibility in the ever-evolving manufacturing workplace and overall California economy. 

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Open Forum: Workers, the economy, win with flexibility in the workplace
Lance Hastings in San Francisco Chronicle -- March 19, 2019
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California’s success in the new and rapidly evolving economy will be driven by innovation, technical skills, leading-edge workplace cultures and our policymakers’ willingness to modernize our employment laws. The recent ruling by the California Supreme Court on Dynamex Operations West vs. Superior Court of Los Angeles County however is an antiquated way to impose labor rules. It will put California at a severe competitive disadvantage among the other 49 states.

The Legislature and employer community are reacting differently to the state Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, which concluded that independent contractors must be considered employees if they can’t pass a three-factor litmus test (see box below). This “ABC test” makes it nearly impossible to classify a worker as an independent contractor, and the hardest part is that you can’t hire someone to perform similar duties to that of your employees. If the worker’s situation doesn’t pass the “ABC test,” then the hiring companies must comply with the web of employment laws and regulations relating to minimum wage, overtime, withholding payroll taxes, unemployment benefits and insurance plans... READ MORE 



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