CFA members who were thankful for Governor Newsom’s decision to sign Senate Bill 808 into law were also profoundly disappointed at his veto of a number of bills critical for labor, including two bills that would have helped to correct systemic inequity in the workplace and offer greater protections for workers on strike.

A group of people who are CFA members holding posters and signs at a rally in Long Beach.
CFA Long Beach members hold up their signs in solidarity at a rally.

Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 1123, which would have offered faculty a full semester of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, and/or fostering of a child.

“The governor made a promise to support parents and children by expanding paid parental leave, yet this is the second time he has vetoed a bill that intended to do just that,” said Alma Itzé Flores, a member of CFA’s Parents and Caregivers Coalition and an assistant professor at CSU Sacramento. Flores is referring to a 2022 bill, AB 2464, which also attempted to expand the unjust one month paid parental leave that the CSU offers to a full semester. “It is terribly inequitable of the Governor to fail to recognize the value and dignity of our parenting faculty whose lives will be drastically harmed as a result of this second rejection of a more-than-reasonable bill.”

Newsom’s vetoes reinforce a long-term equity gap in which the needs of early career faculty, women, and other employees are pushed to the side and ignored.

Sadly, even when public support of unions are at an all-time high, Newsom remained steadfast in rejecting SB 799, which would have made striking workers eligible to qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits after 14 days.

By vetoing this bill, Newsom opens the possibility for employers to exploit workers’ financial precarity as a means to end a strike.

Though he claims to have deep respect for workers who fight for their rights and come together in collective action, his own actions suggest otherwise.

In a year of booming labor activism stemming from the realities of workers who must endure unfair working conditions, Newsom’s vetoing of important pro-union bills seems to put him out-of-touch with what workers need.

But despite these major disappointments and setbacks, our members continue a strong push forward to get the justice we deserve.

Our efforts led to Newsom signing SB 808, which will highlight the CSU’s failure to appropriately handle sexual misconduct claims. This bill, which passed off the Assembly and Senate Floors with unanimous consent, will require the Chancellor’s Office to produce an annual report (on or before December 1 of each year) regarding the investigations and outcomes of sexual harassment reports and formal sexual harassment complaints.

“We co-sponsored this bill because we understand how it can create real cultural change for the students, faculty, and staff on our campuses,” said CFA President Charles Toombs. “We hope that this report will hold the Chancellor’s Office accountable by offering greater transparency and greater protections for workers and students on our campuses.”

We denounce Newsom’s veto of AB 1123, and promise that our fight for expanded paid parental leave is far from over. Our revisions to Article 23 (Leaves of Absence with Pay) in our re-opener bargaining campaign clearly outline this crucial need, and our members will continue to fight to ensure that faculty get the humane parental leave they deserve.

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