Laid-off service workers caravan to Sacramento urging Governor Newsom to sign AB 3216

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — On Tuesday, laid off hospitality and service workers in San Jose gathered near the Fairmont Hotel in downtown — joining a statewide caravan traveling to the state’s capitol in support of Assembly Bill 3216. 

As dozens of service workers and supporters circled the park across the Fairmont Hotel in their cars members of Unite Here Local 19 held a press conference just before heading to Sacramento.

“My co-workers and I have been laid off and we get told this might go into next year,” said Dolores Dominguez, a motel banquet server who lost her job in March. 

“It’s scary and that’s why we are here to ask the governor to sign AB 3216 because it’s very important.”

AB 3216 hopes to establish a “right of recall and retention” protections for workers in industries hardest hit by COVID-19 — by ensuring laid-off workers in the hospitality and service industry are the first to be offered their jobs back once their employers resume operations. 

The bill was introduced by San Jose Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), a proposal backed by unions that aims to create significant labor protections for airport, hotel, janitorial, event center and building maintenance workers. 

The bill passed the Legislature last month but Governor Newsom has yet to officially sign it — prompting local community organizations throughout the state to come together and travel to Sacramento demanding Newsom to sign the bill. 

Director of Economic and Workforce Policy at Working Partnerships USA Louise Auerhahn has helped local workers who have been laid off since the start of the pandemic and says the workers deserve a more permanent solution. 

“We’re already seeing white workers being rehired twice as fast as Black workers, and we don’t want a scenario where some executives use COVID-19 as an excuse to get rid of older employees or people who speak up for their rights,” said Louise  Auerhahn, Director of Economic and Workforce Policy at Working Partnerships USA. 

“If Governor Newsom truly wants to deliver on his promise of an equitable and fair recovery, he needs to sign AB 3216 so everyone has the right to return to their job when businesses reopen.”

Across the state several other cities have already passed local right of recall legislation including the city of Oakland, Santa Monica, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

Workers and community organizations including Working Partnerships USA, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, Jobs with Justice San Francisco, South Bay Labor Council, San Mateo Central Labor Council, North Bay Labor Council, and Unite Here are urging the Governor to sign AB 3216 as part of a package of bills that will provide basic protections for the state’s working families. 

Governor Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill. 

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