Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have provided sweeping new labor protections for workers laid off during the pandemic by requiring hotel, airport and janitorial employers to rehire based on seniority.
Assembly Bill 3216 by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) called for employers in those industries to first rehire workers they laid off during a state of emergency, including in cases in which a new owner takes over a business. The protections pushed by labor groups targeted businesses, including event centers and building maintenance, that have let go a third of their workforce as a result of COVID-19.
Newsom said the bill was too prescriptive and threatened to hurt the already devastated hospitality industry.
“I recognize the real problem this bill is trying to fix — to ensure that workers who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic have certainty about their rehiring and job security,” Newsom said in his veto message, adding that the bill would apply to layoffs unrelated to a state of emergency.
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