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San Diego Wins Major Victories for Workers

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

San Diego Wins Major Victories for Workers

City of San Diego passed an emergency recall and retention ordinance, and emergency sick leave ordinance on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. 

In collaboration with UNITE HERE Local 30, SEIU-USWW, and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, and San Diego City Council with the leadership of Councilmember Chris Ward, we passed an emergency ordinance that ensures laid-off workers who have given the most years of service return to their jobs once businesses begin to rehire. This is a victory for some of the hardest hit workers in San Diego. 

In a 7-2 vote, the San Diego City Council passed an emergency recall and retention ordinance for hospitality and commercial maintenance workers in the city. 

Brigette Browning, President of the UNITE HERE Local 30 said: “The effects of the pandemic have been disproportionately felt in immigrant communities and communities of color.  It has profoundly impacted not just their health and safety, but also their prosperity… When workers achieve 20, 30, and 40 years of service with a hotel, they’re committed and good workers. This ordinance provides a fair and just way for them to return to work.” 

Genoveva Aguilar, San Diego Coordinator at SEIU-USWW offered, “This is a victory for women, Brown, Indigenous and Black workers and older workers who live and work in the City of San Diego. Essential workers have borne the brunt of the pandemic, and working-class and communities of color continue to face the highest rates of positive COVID-19 cases and have been devastated by the ensuing economic crisis. We applaud the members of the City Council who stood with the working families.”

Derrick Robinson, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst at the Center of Policy Initiatives said: “This policy will provide more economic stability to Black, Indigenous, Workers of Color and their families who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. A recall by seniority protects workers from discrimination and favoritism.

Keith Maddox, Executive Secretary Treasurer at the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council said: Hospitality workers have built our City’s tourism economy, and yesterday our City Council acknowledged and paid respect to that work. Unjustly terminated workers who have given 30 and 40 years of their lives to the Sheraton will now have the right to return to work by seniority. When corporations refuse to treat workers fairly during a pandemic, our City must step in. Yesterday San Diego did right by its workers.

In another victory for working families, the City Council voted to support an expansion of sick leave that would close a loophole in the federal leave policy, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The City of San Diego’s ordinance would implement temporary, supplemental paid sick leave of 80 hours for full-time employees of businesses with 500 employees or more, left out of the federal policy.

Yesterday was a huge win for workers in San Diego. Thank you to everyone who called in, submitted e-comment, signed our petition, and supported this effort!

Update: On Sept 9, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 1867, which not only closes the gap statewide, but also gives every CA employee that has been exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19 access to paid sick days for the rest of the 2020 calendar year. The bill also allows California’s Labor Commissioner to cite workplaces for a lack of paid sick days, a critical enforcement tool that will promote safety for employees and customers alike.

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Written by
CPI San Diego
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Written by CPI San Diego

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