Lilia Garcia-Brower

Lilia García-Brower was born and raised in East Los Angeles. She was appointed by Governor Newsom as the California State Labor Commissioner on July 29, 2019. As Labor Commissioner, she oversees the primary law enforcement agency for workplace protections. The Labor Commissioner’s Office has 20 offices throughout California and employs 500 hardworking public servants who investigate and adjudicate a wide range of workplace violations from unpaid wages to retaliation. As Labor Commissioner Lilia has launched a multi¬disciplinary outreach campaign, Reaching Every Californian. This campaign prioritizes educating employers and worker populations who have a history of trauma and do not have a pathway to the LCO. Lilia has also initiated strategies to eliminate retaliation, increase judgement recovery and criminal prosecution of wage theft. As Labor Commissioner Lilia commenced a process to make the agency trauma informed. As part of this process, she leads monthly meditation sessions and has established a Wellness Committee and Racial Justice Committee comprised of LCO team members who develop programming to promote an internal culture of well¬being, grow efficient mission driven focus, and improved public service.

Prior to this most recent appointment, she was the executive director of the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund for 19 years. Working with a powerful team of committed individuals, Lilia lead the MCTF as it grew to be one of the most effective joint labor management organizations in the Nation. The MCTF investigates cleaning companies for employment law violations and works with government agencies and private bar lawyers to hold unscrupulous employers accountable. The MCTF has facilitated the winning of more than 80 million in back wages and has brought in more than 8000 jobs from the predatory underground economy into the formal economy. The MCTF has also built productive relationships with District Attorneys throughout the State referring more than 40 illegal operators for criminal prosecution. The MCTF is nationally recognized for its innovative work in public-community enforcement partnership. Lilia co-founded an effort in 2001 to form a statewide coalition of worker advocates who represent mainly immigrant workers who suffer wage theft. This coalition has evolved and continues today with membership of an estimated 60 organizations throughout California. In 2007, Lilia was appointed to the Fraud Assessment Commission in the California Department of Insurance. She was reappointed by 2 governors and continued to serve on the Commission until her recent appointment as Labor Commissioner. The objective of the commission is to augment the fight to end worker’s compensation fraud in California. In 2015 she broadened the scope of exploitation the organization works to eliminate due to the courage of Georgina Hernandez, a nonunion janitor who spoke out publicly about being raped at work. In 2017 Lilia initiated a collaboration with current and former janitors; many survivors of sexual violence, to form the !Ya Basta! Self-defense group. In 2018, the group trained 160 women. In 2019, the MCTF Ya Basta instructors became certified to train self-defense instructors with the goal of establishing Ya Basta chapters in 5 other cities throughout California. Eventually, the Ya Basta chapters will train 1000 janitors annually on how to defend themselves at work and throughout their lives.

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