California Governor Gavin Newsom rejected a bill Saturday that would have provided unemployment benefits to workers on strike, citing concerns over the state’s debt and the strain on the unemployment fund.
Driving the news: Newsom vetoed the bill, stating that the state’s unemployment fund will be almost $20 billion in debt by the end of the year and that this is not the time to incur further costs.
- The unemployment fund in California is already over $18 billion in debt due to the pandemic-related shutdowns and widespread fraud.
- The proposed bill would have allowed workers on strike for at least two weeks to receive unemployment checks from the state, amounting to a maximum of $450 per week.
The other side: Labor unions argued that the number of workers on strike for more than two weeks is relatively small and would not significantly impact the state’s unemployment trust fund, emphasizing that this veto favors corporations over workers’ rights.
- Democratic state lawmakers introduced the bill to support Southern California hotel workers and Hollywood actors and writers who have been on strike for a significant portion of the year.
What they’re saying: In his veto message, Newsom clearly argued: “Now is not the time to increase costs or incur this sizable debt.”
- Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, criticized the veto, saying, “This veto tips the scales further in favor of corporations and CEOs and punishes workers who exercise their fundamental right to strike.”