California Chamber of Commerce
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|Focus||Business advocacy, HR compliance|
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocacy group in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. The CalChamber provides products and services to help businesses and human resources (HR) professionals comply with both federal and state employment law. As a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, the CalChamber promotes international trade and investment to stimulate California's economy and create jobs.
CalChamber has over 14,000 members, who collectively employ one quarter of the private sector workforce in California. Three-quarters of CalChamber's members have 100 or fewer employees.
"To serve as an advocate and resource for California employers and to engage in other activities, domestically and internationally, that enhance the California economy and make the state a better place to live, work and do business."
Board of directors
The members of the CalChamber's Board of Directors are elected by the CalChamber’s members and are ranking executives in their organizations, representing many of the state’s leading firms and industries, as well as the small business segment.
Allan Zaremberg - President and CEO
The CalChamber traces its roots directly to the California State Board of Trade, which incorporated on February 20, 1890 after three years as a voluntary organization. The primary goal of the organization in those early years was to encourage immigration to California, a goal of the State Board of Trade pursued by publishing and circulating statistical and other descriptive information on the growth and products of the state.
In an effort to more effectively promote the business of the state, the California State Board of Trade merged with the Manufacturers and Producers Association of California and the California Promotion Committee in 1910. The new combined group, known as the California Development Board, carried out the aims of its parent groups. The board continued to promote immigration to California, the main focus of the Board of Trade. It encouraged pride in California-made products, as had the Manufacturers and Producers Association. It also disseminated information about the state, as had the California Promotion Committee.
To better deal with the complexities of supporting a sound business climate in a rapidly growing state, the California Development Board merged with the California Industries Association in 1921 to form the California Development Association, Commerce and Industry. In September 1929, the organization incorporated as the California State Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry.
In 1972, the Board of Directors adopted the shorter name: California Chamber of Commerce.
California Employment Law Resource
Alongside staff legal counsel, the CalChamber's Business Services Division develops and provides compliance resources for anyone who handles HR in California. CalChamber provides businesses with resources to understand and comply with complex laws and regulations.
- Labor Law Helpline: A service available exclusively to CalChamber Preferred and Executive members, allowing them to speak directly with a CalChamber HR adviser about labor, employment, HR and Cal/OSHA compliance issues. These advisers provide explanations of employment-related laws, regulations, court cases and administrative procedures, and recommend consulting legal counsel when appropriate.
- HRCalifornia: The CalChamber’s compliance website is designed for employers and HR professionals looking for quick, accurate answers to tough HR issues. The content and tools simplify tasks and help users make decisions regarding family and medical leave, overtime, hiring, termination, exempt vs. nonexempt employees and more. The HR Library is the gateway to the most commonly referenced HR topics and related legal explanations, how to’s, wizards and Q&As. The Forms & Tools center includes more than 400 downloadable HR forms and checklists. Cases & News presents timely articles and the HRWatchdog blog posts insights on the latest employment law news.
- CalChamber Store: From required employment notices and harassment prevention training to the Employee Handbook CreatorTM online tool and the California Labor Law Digest, CalChamberStore.com provides compliance products and training that help California employers stay on top of employment law requirements. It also sells seats to HR seminars throughout California, as well as live and recorded webinars on a variety of workforce issues.
In 2014, the CalChamber organized and led a delegation of approximately 90 business, economic development, investment, and policy leaders from throughout California to participate in a trade mission to Mexico led by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. The Gubernatorial Trade Mission to Mexico took place from July 27, 2014 to July 30, 2014 in Mexico City. During the trade mission, Governor Brown signed several memorandums of understanding with Mexico's Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economy, and Secretariat of Tourism.
On the Issues
In recent years, the CalChamber has made efforts to:
- protect workers’ compensation reforms;
- help control unemployment insurance costs;
- help control health care costs;
- stop tax increases — both in legislation and at the ballot box;
- keep a lid on wage costs;
- safeguard the ability of California ports to keep goods moving;
- win voter approval of investment in critical infrastructure;
- stimulate business activity through support for the enterprise zone program;
- ensure students are better prepared for the workplace;
- help California small businesses;
- promote tourism marketing;
- keep the lid on excessive litigation; and
- increase world trade, investment and tourism opportunities.
Each year, the CalChamber releases a list of "job killer" bills to identify legislation that will, in the chamber's view, hurt economic and job growth in California. ♙. The CalChamber tracks the bills throughout the rest of the legislative session and works to educate legislators about the serious consequences these bills will have on the state. Updates on the "job killers" appear on its website.
- 2018 "job killers" - 29 job killer bills identified, 1 sent to Governor Brown 
- 2017 "job killers" - 27 job killer bills identified, 3 sent to Governor Brown, 1 vetoed 
- 2016 "job killers" - 24 job killer bills identified, 5 sent to Governor Brown, 1 vetoed 
- 2015 "job killers" - 19 job killer bills identified, 3 sent to Governor Brown, 2 vetoed 
- 2014 "job killers" - 27 job killer bills identified, 2 sent to Governor Brown, 2 signed 
- 2013 "job killers" - 38 job killer bills identified, 1 sent to Governor Brown, 1 signed 
- 2012 "job killers" - 32 job killer bills identified, 6 sent to Governor Brown, 2 vetoed 
- 2011 "job killers" - 30 job killer bills identified, 5 sent to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., 4 vetoed   
- 2010 "job killers" - 43 job killer bills identified, 12 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 10 vetoed 
- 2009 "job killers" - 33 job killer bills identified, 6 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 6 vetoed 
- 2008 "job killers" - 39 job killer bills identified, 10 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 9 vetoed 
- 2007 "job killers" - 30 job killer bills identified, 12 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 12 vetoed 
- 2006 "job killers" - 40 job killer bills identified, 11 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 9 vetoed 
- 2005 "job killers" - 45 job killer bills identified, 8 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 7 vetoed 
- 2004 "job killers" - 23 job killer bills identified; 10 sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 10 vetoed 
The CalChamber works to create a political climate that is more favorable to business through a targeted political action network that funds specific campaigns through issue and candidate political action committees. This bipartisan program recruits and supports pro-jobs candidates who are committed to promoting policies to enhance California’s economy and jobs climate. 
If adopted, job creator legislation would encourage employers to invest resources back into the economy and local communities rather than spending those resources on unnecessary government-imposed costs. Job creator bills help keep taxes on new investment and operations low, revive economic development tools, reduce regulatory and litigation costs, create investments in public and private works, and ensure the availability of skilled employees.
Through 2015, 26 job creator bills had been signed into law. Updates on the job creator bills appear at calchamber.com/jobcreators
- California Chamber of Commerce
- CAJobKillers.com: CalChamber's website tracking legislative proposals that would hurt employers and the economy.
- Western Association of Chamber Executives: an education and professional development association for chamber executives and staff.
- Grassroots: Also known as CalChamberVotes.com - highlights CalChamber priority bills, legislative action items, position letters.
- CalChamber Store
- California: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, 1989 Windsor Publications, Inc., page 240.
- http://california-mexicomission.calchamber.com California Chamber of Commerce
- http://business.ca.gov/International/2014CATradeMissiontoMexico.aspx California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development
- Fox&Hounds :: California Politics and Business, May 25, 2011
- Sacramento Business Journal, May 27, 2011
- The Washington Journal, February 7, 2010
- Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2010
- Capitol Weekly, September 18, 2008
- Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2008
- Sacramento Bee, June 30, 2011
- Sacramento Business Journal, May 26, 2011
- Gordon Webster blog in The Business Journal, November 6, 2017
- Dan Walters in The Sacramento Bee, October 3, 2016
- George Lurie in The Business Journal, October 19, 2016
- Dan Walters in The Sacramento Bee, November 19, 2015
- Orange County Business Council, April 22, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2013
- The Sacramento Bee, April 12, 2012
- The Orange County Register, May 17, 2010
- Los Angeles Times PolitiCal, June 6, 2012