Gavin Newsom vetoes bill to allow workers on strike to receive unemployment benefits

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Gavin Newsom vetoes bill to allow workers on strike to receive unemployment benefits

Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that would have allowed workers who left their jobs to strike during labor negotiations to receive unemployment benefits.

The bill was introduced during a five-month-long Hollywood writers strike that impacted the entertainment industry. The strike ended last week after Writers Guild of America board members approved a contract agreement with studios. Hollywood actors and California hotel workers are continuing their respective labor strikes. Many of these striking workers have gone through months without pay, a government official said.

If the bill passed, workers on strike for at least two weeks would have been allowed to receive unemployment checks from the state, which can be as much as $450 per week. Workers who lost their job due to no fault of their own are typically the only ones eligible for these benefits.

Newsom, who frequently benefits from campaign contributions from labor unions, announced his rejection of the bill in a statement announcing his support of workers involved in labor strikes, but that the fund used by the state to provide unemployment benefits is projected to reach nearly $20 billion in debt by the end of the year.

The fund's resources were also negatively impacted by massive amounts of fraud that cost the state billions of dollars.

The AP notes that the number of workers on strike for more than two weeks is so low that allowing them to receive unemployment would not make a significant impact on the state's unemployment fund.

The bill's author, Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino, said in the analysis of the legislation that only two of the 56 strikes in California over the past decade have lasted more than two weeks.

The state's unemployment benefits have also increased, and California's Legislative Analyst's Office has forecast benefit payments to exceed tax collections by $1.1 billion this year.

Newsom, who has vowed never to lie, said in a statement.