https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/ ... employmentStriking workers in California, including writers and actors still picketing Hollywood studios, would be eligible for unemployment benefits under legislation state lawmakers passed on Thursday. Gov. Gavin Newsom now faces a critical decision on whether to sign the bill into law and help provide financial relief to striking entertainment workers and other union members walking out during an era of rising tensions between labor and employers in California.
Under Senate Bill 799, California would become one of the few states that allow striking workers to collect unemployment benefits, joining New York and New Jersey. The bill, as strongly supported by labors unions as it was opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, would allow striking workers to collect unemployment benefits after being on strike for two weeks. If the governor signs the bill, it would take effect in January.
Newsom has been taking a backstage role as the Hollywood strikes drag on for more than 100 days, emphasizing he’s working with both sides. At an event hosted by Politico on Tuesday, the governor expressed concerns about the unemployment insurance fund’s debt but didn’t say whether he would veto the bill. California’s unemployment fund is more than $18 billion in debt after it borrowed money from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits. “I think one has to be cautious about that before you enter the conversation about expanding its utilization,” Newsom said.
Democrats, on the other hand, have been voicing their support for the unions. “We want people to be able to pay their rent and want people to be able to put food on their table during a strike or not during the strike. It’s the right thing to do,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank), who wrote the bill, on the Senate floor. In California, unemployment pay is $450 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks. To be eligible for unemployment, Californians have to meet other requirements such as conducting a reasonable effort to search for work.
If it passed with an "urgency clause", it would have taken effect immediately after Newsom signed it and Hollywood writers and actors could have applied immediately. Sen Portantino is the author of SB 2, the new concealed carry bill.