Protecting Workers and Material Working Conditions

COVID-19 has placed unique ramifications on workers across the State, and my government believes we are obligated to not only address but protect workers during these times when prior State governments and electeds have failed.  We need to raise the floor for everyone, permanently.

If we truly want to get the 6th largest economy in the world back moving again, I recognize we can’t do this until the pandemic is under control.  And we cannot get the pandemic under control until we protect essential workers.  It is extremely disrespectful for elected officials such as our Governor to say they value essential workers, yet remain unwilling to put in the money, work, and policies to actually protect and value said essential workers.  This is critical to both reducing the spread of the virus within our homes and communities, minimizing the strain on our healthcare system, and ensuring we have a workforce for California’s small businesses.  Our government wasting our tax dollars on fighter jets and nice words written in smoke for essential workers did not provide the necessary PPE or hazard pay that essential workers were calling for.

Many of the workers keeping us alive right now are migrants, the Poor & our Working Class: agricultural, domestic, warehouse, delivery, gig workers, hospitality and more. These vulnerable folks have long been excluded from full healthcare and social support. We must also protect and value these workers who are now – finally – understood as essential.  That means full and equal access to all income support, healthcare, and labor protections.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis and declared State of Emergency I will remain committed to ALL workers of this great State.  As your Governor, I would use the California  Emergency Services Act (2 CCR § 8550-8669.7) and the authority vested to me in 2 CCR § 8567a & 2 CCR § 8569-8570 in order to mitigate the effects of our declared States of Emergency both for COVID-19 and our economic crisis by implementing the following:

  • A monthly Essential Worker Cash Bonus of $1500/month; 
  • Additional two week vacation pay dispensed by the State of California, and 
  • With the highest risk to contract COVID-19 being on the frontline in our workspaces and consistent interaction/proximity to customers, Automatic inclusion and full coverage for MediCAL at no-cost is critical for essential workers regardless of employee status (covering massive gaps that the 2020 Yes on Prop 22 vote just permitted with gig workers and their families)
  • Medical debt forgiveness for Essential Workers and their families during this time regardless of employee status (covering massive gaps that the 2020 Yes on Prop 22 vote just permitted with gig workers and their families)
  • Providing Death benefits for all Essential Workers regardless of employee status (covering massive gaps that the 2020 Yes on Prop 22 vote just permitted with gig workers and their families)
  • Make the essential workforce environment as safe as possible*, including but not limited to:
    • Expanding Executive Order N-51-20 for all Workers and employers not covered under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act;
    • Ensuring that Employer liability isn’t shielded as a result of Essential Status when employers are not compliant with OSHA, CDC, Department of Labor, State/County Public Health standards, guidelines or recommendations and then holding those employers accountable with strong State sanctions/consequences enforced by the State Office of the Attorney General;
  • Have an Economic Recovery Task Force that is worker-focused and worker-led (unions, labor representatives & actual workers on the ground) across all industries.  This new task force will determine pro-worker conditions, safety measures, eligibility, complaint/review/investigation  procedures with outcomes enforced by the State Office of the Attorney General
    • As Newsom’s efforts in creating an Economic Recovery Task Force are co-chaired by a Billionaire, with fellow millionaires and billionaires occupying 42 seats at the table while Unions &  Labor Leaders sit in 13; Silicon Valley outnumbering Small Businesses; and a glaring failure to include any Essential Workers and impacted communities a seat at the table. #OurCalifornia’s exclusion played a direct role in Governor Newsom’s failures for reopening and the recovery of our economy. 
  • Fix the unemployment lags to ensure all individuals who file receive notification of unemployment insurance within no more than 2-4 weeks.  Californians dependent on unemployment insurance during a pandemic and economic crisis have been left waiting 6+ months to hear their UI application was accepted – that is 6+ months of state-sanctioned poverty.  #OurCalifornia needs their money – they have paid into our system and deserve to be treated with respect, compassion, and dignity.  It’s far too important to fail #OurCalifornia when the State knew of unemployment’s logistical shortcomings for over a decade, failed to ever plan for a recession, or implement prompt and effective fraud prevention measures.  One full year into our COVID-19 pandemic, our Employment Development Department and State budget funding is still harming Californians in need.
  • In the true spirit of Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California campaign, I will call on fellow Citizens, Socialists, Governors, and fellow Socialist Gubernatorial campaigns across this country to adopt and implement the same.

Given Governor Newsom’s declared States of Emergency and his Constitutional authority, there is nothing logistically stopping Governor Newsom from adopting and immediately implementing all of these policies for the Workers in the great State of California, and for #OurCalfironia.  I call on him to do so immediately.