California Legislation Would Damage Cleaning Industry and Economy

The CCA is strongly opposing a California bill that could decimate the cleaning industry, drag down the California economy, and spread to other states. As an organization that advocates on behalf of the commercial cleaning industry and employs more than one million professional cleaners across all 50 states, we must step forward on this industry-changing bill.

The original bill (AB 2364) created a 2,000 square feet per hour limit on the space California janitors could clean. The amended legislation now sets up a seven-member committee designed to reach the same end. In either case the result will be the same: huge cost increases for contracted cleaning services for public schools, universities and state buildings. It would also hit the private sector hard at a time when downtown office buildings – and the neighboring small businesses that depend on them – continue to struggle with high vacancy rates, low daily occupancy, plunging property valuations and high interest rates.

Using Productivity Rates Is a Poor Proxy for Worker Safety

The new version of AB 2364 cherry-picks the factors that can be considered to arrive at a productivity rate while ignoring other, important factors of a janitor’s day-to-day job such as type of work, type of
facility, scope of work, labor‐saving technology, or many of the other typical factors used in the cleaning industry to develop appropriate cleaning programs. To provide some context, the time it takes to clean a hotel room is generally twice what it might take to clean the same space in your house.

The Significant Costs of AB 2364 Will Be Borne Indirectly by the Public and in the State Budget

AB 2364 also overlooks the broader economic impacts on California businesses and communities. Cleaning costs are one of the largest costs for ongoing maintenance of a building. These additional costs will force businesses to choose between less cleaning for existing space, reduce the space that they occupy, and/or most likely pass the costs onto consumers and tenants. The increased costs will cripple businesses at a time when both groups are struggling.

AB 2364 Will Further Hurt Our Downtowns at a Time When They Are Struggling

The legislation would also exacerbate a dire situation in California cities that already have some of the most troubling office building statistics in the nation:

• California has the highest office vacancy rates in the country – well over 30% vacant in some cities
• Approximately half of leases are up for renewal over the next two years with existing tenants pursuing 30% – 40% less space
• Nearly 15% of buildings in the U.S. under a financial loan payment watchlist are in California
• Commercial real estate values are dropping as high as 59% across California due to the economic conditions, prompting building owners to seek property tax reassessments

In short, this bill will lead to more blighted properties, decreased property values, and a corresponding reduction in property tax revenue. Now is not the time to add stressors to California cities’ business corridors and damage our downtowns even further.

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