Local Chambers Rally for PAGA Reform

In a remarkable display of unified action, local chambers of commerce across California are taking a stand, meeting with state legislators to advocate for reforming the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

Enacted in 2004, PAGA was designed to empower workers to address labor disputes effectively. However, after nearly two decades, the cracks in its framework have become glaringly evident.

Because PAGA affects virtually every industry, chambers of commerce, representing the backbone of local business communities, are uniquely positioned to witness the real-world impacts of PAGA. Their advocacy for change is not just about protecting businesses but also about fostering a fairer and more effective system for workers.

Over the past month, the following local business groups have met with their legislators to make the case for fixing PAGA:

  • Anaheim Chamber;
  • Chino Valley Chamber;
  • Corona Chamber;
  • Fresno Chamber;
  • Greater Conejo Valley Chamber;
  • Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber;
  • Hollywood Chamber;
  • Monterey Peninsula Chamber;
  • Morgan Hill Chamber;
  • Orange County Business Council;
  • Greater Riverside Chambers;
  • Sacramento Metro Chamber;
  • Santa Monica Chamber;
  • Simi Valley Chamber;
  • Valley Industry and Commerce Association.

The Problem with PAGA

Originally, PAGA aimed to streamline labor dispute resolutions. However, it has proved inefficient for workers and unfairly burdensome for thousands of small businesses. In many cases, the money recovered from lawsuits doesn’t go directly into workers’ pockets, diluting the intended benefit.

Furthermore, PAGA lawsuits can be costly and time-consuming, often leading to prolonged disputes that serve neither the interests of workers nor businesses. Small businesses, in particular, find themselves disproportionately affected, facing significant legal challenges and financial strains.

Impact on Local Communities

The active involvement of local chambers on this issue underscores the widespread impact of PAGA on communities. Small businesses are often at the heart of local economies, and the current system places an undue burden on them.

By advocating for these reforms, chambers are not just fighting for the businesses they represent but also for the health of their local economies and the well-being of workers who are integral to these communities.

Get Involved

If your organization is interested in getting more involved, join the Fix PAGA coalition today.

Staff Contact: Nick Ortiz

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Nick Ortiz, who joined the California Chamber of Commerce in February 2023, was promoted in October 2023 to head the newly created CalChamber Small Business Policy Center, assuming the role of vice president of small business advocacy. In addition to enhancing the efforts of small business employers to let policy makers know how government requirements affect the day-to-day workings and profitability of small companies, Ortiz continues to serve as an information resource for and CalChamber liaison with local chambers of commerce. Before joining the CalChamber team, Ortiz was president and CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce from April 2015 to February 2023. Ortiz’s previous experience includes positions with the Western States Petroleum Association, PG&E, Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, United Way and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz. See full bio