Taube & Daquino: We join the Jesuit community in urging Newsom to sign AB 3216
Arra Daquino, a Starbucks supervisor, spoke at the San Jose launch of a car caravan action to Sacramento for AB 3216. Photo courtesy of Arra Daquino.

As a labor rights advocate and a San Jose Mineta International Airport concessions worker, we urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign AB 3216, the worker recall and retention bill authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra.

The bill will provide job security and protect the dignity of hospitality workers. We know how important it is that we ensure that hospitality workers get back to work as business picks up because working families in Silicon Valley are struggling. That’s why we support AB 3216, a bill that would simply guarantee that hospitality workers such as hotel workers, airport workers, janitors, and event center workers will be offered their jobs back as business returns to normal.

AB 3216 is vital to ensuring an equitable COVID-19 recovery in Silicon Valley and throughout the state. This bill will provide job security to those who have been hit the hardest by the shutdown.

Hospitality workers in Silicon Valley are predominantly people of color, immigrants and women. According to a Pew Research Center study, Black and Latinx Americans are disproportionately impacted by both the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a law like AB 3216 in place, the recovery will be inequitable for these communities. The latest Labor Department jobs report, which revealed that white workers are being hired back at twice the rate of Black workers, reflects the racial inequity of the recovery.

As a graduate of  Santa Clara University School of Law and an Adjunct Professor at the law school and as a Catholic airport worker, respectively, we were particularly moved by a Jesuit delegation held last Wednesday to the governor to request his support for AB 3216. Newsom is an alum of Santa Clara University who has spoken in the past about the importance of his Jesuit education. The Jesuit leaders presented Newson with a letter that spoke to his shared values with the Jesuit tradition and the Santa Clara University community.

The letter states: “Governor Newsom, we hope you can implement our mutual Santa Clara University values and traditions which impel us to accompany those on the margins.  In this time the working poor of our communities seek only to be called back to work in the same jobs they have labored at for years. There can be no true economic recovery without caring for the families of workers who care for us by cleaning and cooking. This work is sacred, and we must treat it as such. There will be no justice in our recovery without recognizing the contribution of people who willingly show up and risk their own safety to serve in menial jobs that are often overlooked by all of us.”

Students and alumni of Santa Clara University have joined the call for valuing hospitality work by circulating a petition for Newsom to sign AB 3216. This morning students met with hospitality workers on the Santa Clara University campus to present their petition, which gathered over 200 signatures.

The message from Jesuit leaders and the Santa Clara University community strike a chord with us because they speak to one of the core values we both share, that there should be dignity in work. In their letter, Jesuit leaders state that, if Newsom signs AB 2316, “California will show the world the path we must take to recover from the economic disruption of this pandemic—honoring the dignity of working people.”

As labor advocates in Silicon Valley, we share these same values. The hospitality workers of our region have loyally served us over the years — making our coffee before a flight, preparing our nachos at Sharks games and making sure our visitors have comfortable stays in hotels. We should honor their years of service and give them the respect and dignity they deserve by allowing them to return to their jobs.

As members of the Santa Clara University community and the Hospitality industry, we urge Newsom to honor our shared value of dignity and respect for working people by signing AB 3216 today.

Ruth Silver Taube is the Workers’ Rights Supervising Attorney at the Alexander Community Law Center and an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University School of Law. Arra Daquino is a Starbucks supervisor for HMS Host at San Jose Mineta International Airport and member of UNITE HERE Local 19.

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