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Inventory of the California State Senate Industrial Relations Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Committee History
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: California State Senate Industrial Relations Committee Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1972-2000
    Collection number: See series description
    Creator: California State Senate Industrial Relations Committee
    Extent: 31 cubic feet.
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: The Senate Industrial Relations Committee Records reflect the activity of the committee in overseeing legislation and other matters affecting the California Labor Code.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], California State Senate Industrial Relations Committee Records, LP[number]:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The Archives acquired the Senate Industrial Relations Committee Records as required by state law.

    Alternative Forms of Material Available

    Some of these papers are available on microfilm at the California State Archives.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed by staff of the California State Archives over a period of time and described in a finding aid in 2004.

    Committee History

    The Senate Rules Committee created the Senate Industrial Relations Committee in 1970. The Industrial Relations Committee evolved from the Senate Committee on Insurance and Financial Institutions, which had reviewed bills concerning the Unemployment Insurance Code, workers' compensation and insurance, and the unemployed. Initially, the seven members of the new Industrial Relations Committee considered "all bills relating to labor, public employees, non-certificated public school employees, business regulation, the unemployed, workmen's compensation and insurance, and bills amending the Unemployment Insurance Code" (California Legislature at Sacramento, 1970, p93). In 1971, the Committee's responsibilities were reduced when business regulation bills were assigned to the Business and Professions Committee. Then, in 1973 public employee bills were assigned to the new Public Employment and Retirement Committee.
    The committee consisted of seven members with the exception of the period from 1983-1990 when the number increased to nine. Senator Alan Short (Dem.) served as the Committee's first Chairman from 1970-1974. Senator George N. Zenovich (Dem.) replaced Senator Short as Chairman and served from 1975-1977. In 1978 Senator Bill Greene (Dem.) was assigned as committee Chairman and served through 1992. Senator Patrick Johnston (Dem.) served as chair for the 1993-1994 legislative session then was replaced by Senator Hilda Solis (Dem.), who served from 1995-2000. From 1972 through 2000 the committee's responsibilities remained focused on, "bills relating to labor, industrial safety, unemployment, workmen's compensation and insurance and non-certificated public school employees" (California Legislature at Sacramento, 1972, p98). In 2001 the committee was renamed the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, but its scope did not change. Senator Richard Alarcon (Dem.) served as the first Chairman of this committee starting in 2001.
    The Senate Industrial Relations Committee considered many bills that drew significant public interest because of their focus on labor relations, industry and the environment, and employee safety. During the 1970s, the committee saw several bills on discrimination in the workplace. These bills were supported by labor unions and aimed to protect every worker from discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation (SB16, 1980).
    Since its inception, the committee has spent a large percentage time dealing with the issues of workers' compensation and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (Cal-OSHA), particularly in 1987 when Governor Deukmajian attempted to shift from the California occupational safety and health standards to that of the Federal government. The other topic that drew considerable committee interest was welfare policy. In 1985, AB2580 created the Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) Program, also known as workfare. This mandatory program was designed to reduce dependence on public assistance by providing education and job training to every adult recipient of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). After AB2580 was chaptered, the Joint Oversight Committee on GAIN Implementation was created in 1986 to deal specifically with this issue. Senator Bill Greene (Dem.), Chairman of the Industrial Relations Committee from 1978-1992 and an author of the GAIN legislation, served on this Joint Committee.

    Scope and Content

    The Senate Industrial Relations Committee Records consist of 31 cubic feet of records reflecting the activity of the committee in overseeing legislation and other matters affecting the California Labor Code. The records cover the years, 1972-2000, with the bulk from 1975-2000. They are comprised of bill files, hearing files, Cal-OSHA files, and welfare files. Although the Industrial Relations Committee began in 1970, records from 1970-1971 are entirely lacking in the Archives holdings. Similarly, the Archives did not receive bill files from the 1995-1996 Legislative session or Assembly Bill files from the 1997-1998 session. It is anticipated that the Archives will receive further records from the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. Researchers should ask a reference archivist about recently received, unprocessed records of the committee.
    The majority of files pertain to employee safety in almost every California industry from agriculture to motion pictures. Workers' compensation and California's occupational safety and health (Cal-OSHA) program are the subject of most of the collection. In 1975, the Governor's Reorganization Plan Number 2 proposed the consolidation of the Department of Industrial Relations' Divisions of Industrial Welfare and of Labor Law Enforcement into a new Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The Senate Industrial Relations Committee attended hearings on this topic and retained background information, statements and testimony regarding these changes. Likewise, when the Governor's Reorganization Plan Number 1 of 1977 and 1978 proposed to move the Cal-OSHA program from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Industrial Relations, the committee's close association with the Department of Industrial Relations thrust it into this debate. Governor Deukmajian's attempt to eliminate California's occupational safety and health program and standards in 1987 in exchange for the federal standards resulted is a series of Cal-OSHA subject files from 1975 through 1989.
    The committee also complied a series of welfare files beginning in 1985 when the controversial workfare legislation, Greater Avenues of Independence (GAIN) Program (AB2580) was introduced into the Legislature. Once AB2580 was chaptered the committee accumulated a variety of documents concerning its implementation including correspondence and county reports and some of its papers are included in the Industrial Relations Committee's welfare files. Other major issues covered are unemployment, wages, and the impact of industry on the environment. In 1975, the committee held three hearings on the implementation and operations of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, and the Archives has files on this topic.


    The Senate Industrial Relations Committee Records are arranged into four series: bill files, hearing files, Cal-OSHA files, and welfare files.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been associated with these materials in the Archives' automated public access system (currently in development, June 2004).


    Worker's Compensation--Law and legislation--California
    California. Legislature. Senate. Committee on Industrial Relations
    California. Labor Code
    Welfare--Law and legislation--California
    Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) Program--California

    Related Material

    Patrick Johnston Papers
    George Zenovich Papers
    Alan Short Papers
    Bill Greene Papers
    Hilda Solis Papers
    Assembly Industrial Relations Committee Records
    Assembly Labor and Employment Committee Records
    Department of Industrial Relations Records

    Oral histories of Committee members

    Patrick Johnston, oral history interview conducted by Laura McCreery, 1988, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, for the California State Archives State Government Oral History Program.