The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

California Democrats’ Anti-Worker Policies

Oct 16, 2023

On September 30, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom of California vetoed legislation that would have allowed workers to collect unemployment pay while on strike.

Companies often simply wait for a strike to collapse, expecting that the lost income of workers alone would force unionized workers to accept companies’ demands. Recently, Hollywood writers repeatedly expressed this concern during their strike.

By vetoing this unemployment benefit bill, Newsom clearly sided with the companies. But, in return, California Democrats, who have a supermajority in California’s Assembly and Senate, did nothing, although these Democrats had the ability to override Newsom’s veto easily.

Since 2011, California governors have been Democrats, and the Democrats have dominated the California legislature. This ping-pong game of the California legislature passing a bill seemingly favorable to workers, and then the governor vetoing these bills, has been repeated many times.

For example, in September 2021, Newsom vetoed a bill that would have boosted California workers’ paid family leave. Companies usually pay less than 60% of workers’ income for family leave.

In October 2021, Newsom vetoed a bill that would allow farmworkers to vote for their union’s proposals and elections through the mail, although California citizens elected Newsom himself through a vote-by-mail process.

In October 2022, Newsom vetoed a bill that would have made undocumented immigrants eligible for California unemployment benefits. Undocumented immigrants pay state and local taxes, which the University of California calculated to reach $3.7 billion in 2019. But they do not have any rights under labor laws. This California bill could have provided some financial support. Newsom denied this support.

And on and on.

Democrats passed all these bills, but Democrat Newsom rejected all of them. The Democrats never overrode the veto. Newsom and Democratic politicians in the California Congress play this game over and over, and all are anti-worker.