California’s workers on strike have encountered another challenge. On Saturday, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed SB-799 to provide these workers with unemployment checks. This comes on the heels of significant work stoppages in industries that have long been criticized for underpaying and mistreating employees, notably Hollywood and the hotel sectors.
Why it matters to workers:
With many months without pay due to ongoing strikes, unemployment benefits would have provided essential relief. Such benefits not only support individual workers but stimulate local economies.
By the numbers:
- The proposed bill aimed to offer workers on strike for over two weeks up to $450 weekly from the state, a significant amount for those struggling to make ends meet. As it stands, only those involuntarily unemployed can avail these benefits.
The bigger picture:
Designed as a show of support for Southern California hotel employees and the Hollywood community who’ve been striking, the bill would have made a significant difference for many. Two critical strikes continue, affecting hundreds of workers.
While financial concerns over the unemployment fund were cited as the reason for the veto, workers and unions believe the impact would be minimal. Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino says, ““I am disappointed in the Governor’s veto of SB 799. The labor unrest and concern we all witnessed this summer earned the Legislature’s action to pass unemployment benefits for striking workers. The need continues and so will efforts to make this the law in California. The hardworking women and men in California need to put food on their table and pay their rent. SB 799 would have injected a small piece of security to working families that is needed and deserved.”
Despite the veto, California’s workers remain steadfast, seeking other avenues of support and relief. While lawmakers can technically override the governor’s decision, such a move hasn’t been made in the state for decades. The fight for workers’ rights, however, continues unabated.