Lorena Gonzalez Stands in Solidarity with Laid Off Workers Seeking the Right to Return to Work

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Statewide Worker Caravan to Capitol Urges Governor Newsom to Sign AB 3216

SAN DIEGO – (Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020) – Today, California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and laid off San Diego hospitality and airport workers rallied in solidarity before departing to Sacramento to deliver a letter urging Governor Gavin Newsom to sign Assembly Bill 3216. This legislation, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and joint-authored by Assemblywoman Gonzalez, would guarantee the right for service sector employees to return to work when their employers begin to reopen their businesses.

"Since March, hospitality workers in my district and across the state have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic," Gonzalez said. "This largely immigrant workforce deserves the right to return to the jobs they've done for years when large hotels, event centers, and airport service providers resume full operations. AB 3216 is a common sense bill that will save jobs and support economic recovery in our local communities."

A caravan of service workers from San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento will arrive at the State Capitol for a socially distant press conference at 3 p.m. today. They will ask to meet with Governor Newsom and deliver a letter authored by eight laid-off hospitality workers from across the state, including Jose Campos of San Diego County. Before a pandemic-related layoff, Campos worked for Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad for over 30 years.

“I’m worried that I’m going to lose my job forever,” he said. “This is very important to me because of how many years I have put with the company.”

Hospitality, janitorial and airport workers are among the hardest-hit by reduced hours, layoffs, and terminations during COVID-19, but many have no guaranteed right to return to work when businesses reopen.

The California hospitality industry received $68.6 billion in PPP loans. A study by UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents over 30,000 hospitality and tourism workers in southern California and Arizona, found that 25 hotels accepted between $28.9 million and $67.4 million in PPP loans. Furthermore, corporate giant HMS Host received valuable rent relief while its workers have been laid off since March. Workers also received a letter from HMS Host saying if they are not recalled by October 15, their temporary lay-offs will be permanent.

“With tourism being our region’s third largest economy, we can no longer ignore the substantial job loss sustained by our service workers,” said Brigette Browning, President of UNITE HERE Local 30. “We need a plan to get these workers, many with decades of service, back to their jobs. We need the Governor to follow through and make sure that these workers are not left behind.”

Today’s statewide caravan of workers contrast corporate bailouts for the hospitality industry with their own struggles to stay housed, fed, safe, and healthy during the pandemic. AB 3216 would guarantee the most experienced of these workers the ability to return to their jobs when the crisis subsides.

Local jurisdictions have passed similar legislation in the wake of COVID-19, including the city of San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica, Glendale, Pasadena, and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

The governor has until September 30 to sign AB 3216.

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Sami Gallegos: samantha.gallegos@asm.ca.gov