SACRAMENTO – (Friday, Feb. 19, 2021) – California’s hospitality workforce is experiencing unprecedented levels of unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced Assembly Bill 1074, supported by hotel workers and UNITE HERE Local 11, to make sure hospitality workers are able to return to work when their employers can safely resume business operations.
"Latinos have made up the backbone of the hospitality industry for decades. Many stayed with the same employers for years in order to work their way up and earn a stable living. They have already disproportionately suffered the brunt of this pandemic," Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. "When hotels and event centers can safely reopen, the least we must do is ensure workers can return to the jobs they previously held. AB 1074 is commonsense policy that provides the support our local communities need to recover from this economic crisis.”
Earlier today, Assemblywoman Gonzalez joined dozens of workers who caravanned from Los Angeles and Orange County to La Jolla for a press conference outside JC Resorts corporate headquarters. JC Resorts owns and operates hotels and golf courses across California, including the Terranea Resort in Ranchos Palos Verdes that terminated much of its workforce amid the pandemic, without making a binding commitment to rehire longtime workers when the hotel reopened. Gonzalez’s AB 1074 would help ensure job security for these workers by establishing statewide rehiring and retention protections for California’s hospitality workforce.
Photo: Assemblywoman Gonzalez, dozens of workers at a press conference outside JC Resorts corporate headquarters in La Jolla on Feb. 19
“Terranea Resort terminated us during the pandemic and took away our health care when we needed it most. My right to go back to work will ensure that I can get back on my feet and give my wife and three young girls a better future. Right now, I fear not being able to pay my bills and rent after my young daughter was in the hospital for kidney failure. I want respect and rights for workers like me. I must return back to work for my family,” said Antonio Rodriguez, who worked as a banquet server at the Terranea Resort for 10 years and was recently hospitalized due to COVID-19.
Nearly 40 percent of all California jobs lost during the pandemic have been in the hospitality industry. AB 1074 would save hundreds of thousands of jobs and boost long-term economic recovery by ensuring qualified, laid-off employees in the hospitality industry are offered employment when their jobs become available as businesses reopen. The bill would prevent discriminatory hiring practices designed to cut costs by replacing longtime employees with a less experienced workforce at lower rates of pay.
"California's hospitality workforce has been decimated by COVID-19, and these employees deserve basic protections which will allow them to return to the jobs and wages they earned before the pandemic as the industry reopens,” Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angles), principal co-author of AB 1074, said. “This bill effectively addresses the concerns Governor Newsom raised to our prior effort."
Last year, Assemblymembers Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Gonzalez and Senator Durazo authored AB 3216, a broader version of this policy that was vetoed by Governor Newsom. This year’s AB 1074 would narrowly apply the protections strictly to employees who lost their jobs in the hospitality sector due to COVID-19.
“California’s economy cannot recover without its workers. We saw firsthand the economic devastation the Great Recession had on the state’s workforce and during the pandemic, thousands across the hospitality and building services industry have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Assemblymember Kalra, joint author of AB 1074.
A number of local jurisdictions across the state have already passed similar ordinances to ensure hospitality workers have the right to return to their previous jobs, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Long Beach, and Pasadena.
For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Shubhangi Domokos: Shubhangi.Domokos@asm.ca.gov