Assemblyman Low Riles Labor Up by Opposing Fair Schedule Bill

Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) cut his political teeth under the watch of yes-man Paul Fong, who termed out of the 28th District last year. In addition to working as a staffer in Fong’s office, Low spent eight years as the first openly gay mayor and councilman of Campbell. He’s been able to cultivate an image as a phenom of the liberal left. But over the last couple years, Fong’s 32-year-old successor has taken a more moderate stance on certain issues, to the chagrin of some of his earliest supporters. In in the course of last year’s Assembly race, a campaign that drew financial support from both corporate and progressive Democrats, Low miffed union allies by endorsing pension reform-backer Madison Nguyen in the San Jose mayor’s race. It was then only a matter of time until some people turned on him, and that time came last week. In a press release applauding movement of the Fair Scheduling Act—a bill from Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) that requires chain retailers to give workers a heads-up on scheduling—Jim Araby, an executive director for the United Food and Commercial Workers, called Low on to the carpet. Araby suggested Low’s opposing vote, which was in line with two Republicans on the committee, begged the question: Does he stand with big business or the working poor? Low told Fly he likes to think that his governance style has more nuance. “In the sound bite world, they want to say whether you’re a labor guy or a corporate guy,” Low said. “I’m not interested in that type of empty rhetoric.” By contrast, he endorsed a proposal to have companies pay employees double-time for working certain holidays—a bill deemed a “job killer” by the state Chamber of Commerce. At least in fielding complaints from both sides, Low said, he won’t look like a rubber stamper. “Part of my job [is] to disagree with friends from time to time. Anyone who expects me to vote with them 100 percent of the time will be disappointed.”

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2 Comments

  1. As a pro-labor, pro-Fair Scheduling Act constituent of Low’s, I don’t hold this against him. I’d rather have a principled guy that votes with labor most of the time than a puppet like Campos or Fong who vote with them all of the time.