California Governor Gavin Newsom Rejects Unemployment Benefits For Striking Labor

Joel Eisenberg
California Governor Gavin NewsomPhoto byAdobe Stock

2023 may well be remembered as the year U.S. labor fought for its value in greater numbers and throughout more diverse industries than ever before.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) in recent days concluded a near-five-month-long strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). SAG-AFTRA is still on strike against that same organization. Hotel workers, teachers and auto workers, among other high-profile groups, have likewise withheld their labor this year.

In California, much the entertainment industry is effectively still paused until SAG-AFTRA agrees to a new contract, regarding which they are returning to the negotiating table Monday, October 2nd.

Workers largely give up their income when they strike. New York pays their eligible striking workers unemployment, including WGA East union members; California does not.

This weekend, California Governor Gavin Newsom officially rejected unemployment benefits for his state's striking workers.

Why the rejection?

According to a September 30th report from Newsom says he supports workers and often benefits from campaign contributions from labor unions. But he said he vetoed this bill because the fund the state uses to pay unemployment benefits will be nearly $20 billion in debt by the end of the year. “Now is not the time to increase costs or incur this sizable debt,” Newsom wrote in a veto message.

The fund the state uses to pay unemployment benefits is reportedly more than $18 billion in debt due to pandemic-related challenges and substantial fraud as detailed in a link within the report.

In the meantime, this remains a developing story. In the event of pertinent updates to this matter, I will share them here on NewsBreak.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA

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