Topics: News, Press

California Workers Win Legislative Support for Unemployment Insurance for Striking Workers

Sacramento, CA – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council applauded the California State Senate for passing SB 799 (Portantino)  to allow union members on strike for at least two weeks to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. In 2019, a previous attempt at passing this legislation, AB 1066 (Gonzalez), failed to pass the Senate by two votes and working people have been suffering since.

“My daughter was born in 2003 on the second day of the Southern California grocery workers’ strike with serious heart problems,” said Rob O’Connell, a food clerk/cashier at Vons in Glendora and member of UFCW Local 1428. “Luckily my union provided health insurance for six months, but I struggled to pay my mortgage, childcare for my other five-year-old daughter and for food and utilities and wiped out my savings. I had put in 11 years of blood, sweat and tears working for Vons since 1992, and paid into the unemployment insurance fund. If striking workers were eligble for unemployment insurance, it would be one less thing they would have to worry about to provide for their families. This bill is sorely needed.”

Striking is the last resort of workers working to influence working conditions, but employers keep too many workers in fear because they are one paycheck away from missing the rent or a car payment. SB 799 will ensure workers can stand up for the workplace justice they deserve.

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September 14, 2023

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected]