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Gavin Newsom ignores the desperate pleas from Disney workers on hunger strikes



ONEWhen the email hit, Diaz was home with her husband and children, announcing that Disney would lay off 28,000 workers. Diaz has been a housekeeper at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California for 19 years. Her husband Micael Diaz too. The next morning, the couple woke up at 6:30 a.m., got in their car, and sped north on I-5 to Sacramento.

“It was a shock – we didn’t expect it,” said the 48-year-old in Spanish. “But we said to our kids, ‘Hey, we’re going out there. We do this because we want to fight for ourselves. We need to make sure that our jobs are protected. ̵

6;“

By that afternoon, they had joined a dozen of their employees in a large trailer around the state capitol. Members of CLUE – Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice – had arranged a vigil for the whole night.

Governor Gavin Newsom had until midnight on September 30th to pass a bill that would determine thousands of jobs across the state. If passed, Bill 3216, nicknamed the right of recall, would give laid-off workers the first chance to be reinstated when their employers return to regular business.

Outside, the caravan marched around the building. “I see a lot of red shirts,” Diaz said, referring to her hospitality union t-shirts, Unite Here! Local 11. Some participants held signs that read “Support AB3216;”. One of them painted his car with the inscription “10 years of service!”. Other workers went on hunger strike in the two days leading up to the decision.

A hundred miles south in San Jose, California State Assembly member Ash Kalra had fasted for 48 hours. Kalra, who wrote the bill, hadn’t eaten since Monday night. “I fast in solidarity with our hotel employees,” said Kalra on the phone from his car on the way to the vigil. “It was an easy choice for me because they fast according to a bill I wrote. I can’t possibly have people fasting for my account unless I’m willing to do the same. “

He’s fasted before – last year Kalra and several other lawmakers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Campaign for the Poor by not eating as many hours. However, this was his first hunger strike for a specific bill.

“I feel good about fasting,” said Kalra. “It feels better today than yesterday. The first day is usually the hardest part. I drank water so it’s not a complete fast. “

The bill, which both houses of California legislature passed, would apply beyond the recently laid-off Disney employees. It would expand protection for employees in hotels, airports, and event centers, as well as janitorial, security, and maintenance workers.


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