Topics: News, Press

Record Budget Surplus Must Benefit Workers Who Power California’s Economy

Sacramento, CA – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council today released the following statement from Amber Baur, executive director, UFCW Western States Council, in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for 2022-2023:

“The 180,000 UFCW members in California applaud Governor Newsom’s goal of supporting working families and reducing soaring costs for workers, from food, rent to other essentials, with the revised 2022-2023 California Budget. When our great state of California has an unprecedented $97.5 billion dollar budget surplus, it’s clear our economy must be balanced with investment in frontline workers and our families.

“UFCW’s member pharmacists and pharmacist technicians were asked to step up during the pandemic, providing Californians with COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, and deserve to be included in the proposed retention bonus payments. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in many cases are the only medical professionals patients have seen in the past two years, these dedicated health care professionals faced overwhelming stress, burnout and risk just like their counterparts in hospital settings. 

“We’re glad the Governor has again committed to providing pathways to quality jobs. Lifting up low-wage workers like UFCW’s members in essential roles, most of whom are women and people of color, is an urgent need for our economy and the strength of our families.

“The proposed overhaul of California’s cannabis tax code isn’t enough when employers are unable to maintain high worker wages, benefits, and career growth opportunities. Cannabis consumers need to be inspired to purchase from legalized shops, not illicit businesses, and that will take real reform providing real relief for retailers. Targeted tax relief, in the form of tax credits for high road employers who provide living wages and benefits, will allow businesses to better compete with the illicit cannabis market and encourage more operators to enter the legal market.

“As California’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must give legal cannabis employers the opportunity to invest in their workers and provide safety for both consumers and communities with SB 1336 (Wiener).

“We are glad the Governor has committed to ensuring working people can recover from the pandemic and fight growing costs of living in California. We will continue working with the Governor and the Administration to ensure California’s budget gives our members what they need throughout the rest of the budget process.”

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May 13, 2022 

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected]