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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill requiring employers in hotels, event centers, airport hospitality and concierge services to first rehire workers laid off during the pandemic when jobs become available, a move that comes after the governor vetoed a broader worker-backed bill last year. .

Senate Bill 93 comes into effect immediately after quickly making its way to the Legislature this week as a Budget Tracker Bill.

“As we move towards fully reopening our economy, it is important that we maintain our focus on equity,” Newsom said in a statement. “SB 93 allows us to move in the right direction by ensuring hospitality and other workers displaced by the pandemic have priority to return to their workplace.”

SB 93 requires employers in the hospitality and business service industries to offer new positions for similar work to employees made redundant during the pandemic within five days of a position being created. The employee must have been employed for more than six months in the 12 months preceding January 1, 2020 and have been laid off for non-disciplinary reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In cases where more than one laid-off employee qualifies for a position, the employer is required to offer it to the worker with the longest tenure. The law will be in effect until the end of 2024.

“This is the biggest victory for workers during the pandemic,” said Kurt Petersen, co-chair of Unite Here Local 11, which sponsored the bill. “It’s a lifeline for workers who have been out of work for a long time. This gives them a guaranteed right to go back. It’s something they didn’t have yesterday.

MP Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) wrote in a tweet that Newsom surprised the Latino legislative caucus by signing the bill in a virtual meeting with the group.

The Service Employees International Union California applauded Newsom’s decision to sign the bill, saying the new law will benefit workers who are predominantly women and people of color by ensuring they are “on the front lines when their jobs come back when companies reopen and they can’t be retaliated against or ignored for younger employees. “

In September, Newsom vetoed Congressman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) Bill 3216, which called on the same industries to rehire workers laid off during a state of emergency on the basis of the seniority, including in cases where a new owner takes over a business.

In vetoing the bill, Newsom said AB 3216 had gone too far, prompting backlash from labor groups who had pushed for the bill.

“I recognize the real problem that this bill attempts to address – to ensure that workers laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic have the certainty of their rehiring and job security,” Newsom said in his report. veto message, adding that the bill would apply to layoffs unrelated to the state of emergency.

AB 3216 and this year’s scaled-down SB 93 encountered opposition from Republicans and business groups who argued that the “right of recall” provisions were unworkable and would prevent industries from trying to reopen.

“We should not impose new demands on companies or expose them to even greater liability, which will hamper their rehiring and recovery,” MP Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) said on Monday. “This bill flies in the face of the momentum small businesses need to help them hire and get people out of unemployment as quickly as possible.

Right of recall protections have been enacted in several California communities, including Santa Monica, Los Angeles City and County, Pasadena, Glendale, and Long Beach.

For Marvin Alvarenga, the new law offers hope after he said his employer first fired him from his busser job in March 2020, then abruptly fired in May.

“I’m barely surviving day to day with what I’m getting from unemployment and my only hope to move forward is to go back to work,” Alvarenga said, adding that he was happy the bill was. become law.

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