CA Blueprint Must Include Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave for Essential Worker Safety

January 10, 2022

Sacramento, CA – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council today released the following statement from Andrea Zinder, president, UFCW Western States Council and UFCW Local 324, in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for 2022-2023:

“The 180,000 UFCW members in California applaud Governor Newsom’s proposed 2022-2023 California Budget, which recognizes that California is at its best when we invest in the social safety net, providing health care, housing and more to working Californians. Workers who are the backbone of our great state’s economy, and have taken an inordinate amount of risk over the past two years ensuring Californians remain healthy and fed during the pandemic, need ongoing support from the state, and this proposed budget is a good start.

“We’re glad the Governor has committed to providing pathways to quality jobs. This critical assistance for low-wage workers, most of whom are women and people of color, is sorely needed and will help ensure our workforce are positioned not just to propel our economy forward, but enable their families to thrive. Our workers know that when California is able to sustain good quality jobs, workers and their families can begin to overcome the inequality laid bare these past years.

“Frontline UFCW workers continue to provide essential services and continue to face unacceptable risks to themselves and their families that must be mitigated. Workers currently have no safety net if they are exposed or sick with COVID-19 just as the virus is breaking new records. We need an immediate extension of two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave as a public health imperative, not to mention the right thing to do, so workers can stay home when they or a family member gets sick, if their child’s school closes, or to get vaccinated.

“Lastly, we’re pleased that Governor Newsom’s California’s Blueprint includes support for cannabis tax reform. We will be working closely with the Administration to ensure this money goes back to cannabis workers to increase their standard of living.

“In 2022, we look forward to working with the Governor and the Administration to ensure California’s budget reflects the needs of our members and ensures they are protected and can build upon the successes our state has had in the past two years.”

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