On Thursday, April 13th, local organizations, workers, and a broad coalition of community members gathered at the State Capitol in Sacramento to urge state legislators and Governor Newsom to support the “Safety Net 4 All” (SN4A) initiative which extends unemployment insurance benefits to undocumented workers.
Undocumented workers in California contribute $3.7 billion in state and local taxes and represent 6% of California’s workforce. Additionally, through taxes on undocumented workers’ labor, California employers contribute an estimated $302 million to the Unemployment Insurance system every year. That money is meant to support workers when they are temporarily out of work, including during layoffs or natural disasters. Unfortunately, federal law prohibits undocumented workers from receiving unemployment benefits, leaving them and their families with no economic support when they need it the most.
CWR was in attendance to show our support for the ongoing struggle to ensure all workers, regardless of citizenship status, are able to access the much needed benefits they have historically been denied. Thousands of excluded workers were faced with unprecedented economic hardships during the height of the pandemic, but the issues SN4A is bringing attention to have been an ongoing systemic issue for decades.
This past winter has also brought historical weather conditions leaving many communities in California without power, victims of flooding, property damage, and leaving many workers stranded from their jobs. Though the Governor has promised economic aid to these communities, many of whom are low-wage farm workers, the lack of structural access has created massive bottlenecks to those who are in dire need of the funds. The SN4A coalition wrote to the Governor detailing the hardships these workers are faced with due to these extreme weather conditions. Read the letter here.
The Center for Workers’ Rights has been in a unique position in the coalition, given our expertise and experience working directly with those who face difficulties with accessing unemployment insurance benefits. We advocate to make unemployment insurance more accessible, both to those who are excluded based on immigration status and those who face other barriers to accessing these benefits.
As the bill makes its way through the legislative process, we have submitted letters of support, have provided testimony at hearings, and have attended rallies at the capitol. CWR will continue to provide support to the SN4A coalition to expand access benefits however possible to fulfill our vision to have a world where ALL workers are treated with dignity and have access to justice. If you are having issues accessing unemployment insurance or want to know if you are eligible for wage replacement benefits, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-905-5857.