SACRAMENTO, California, USA. —
California will not provide unemployment checks to striking workers, and Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday vetoed a bill inspired by high-profile work stoppages in Hollywood and the hospitality industry.
Newsom said he supports workers and has often benefited from campaign contributions from unions. But he noted that he vetoed this bill because the fund used by the state to pay unemployment benefits was nearly $20 billion in debt at the end of the year.
“Now is not the time to increase spending or take on this much debt,” Newsom wrote in a veto message.
The fund the state uses to pay unemployment benefits is already more than $18 billion in debt. That’s because funding ran out and had to borrow from the federal government during the pandemic, when Newsom ordered most businesses to close and caused a huge spike in unemployment. The fund has also been hit by massive amounts of fraud that have cost the state billions of dollars.
For their part, unions say unemployment benefits are good for the economy, allowing striking workers to continue spending and supporting local businesses.
“That money goes to corner stores, to restaurants, to catering companies, to nail salons, to small businesses that are also fighting alongside the striking workers,” Sarah said. Flocks, director of legislative and strategic campaigns at the California Federation of Labor. to lawmakers during a public hearing earlier this month.