The Santa Clara City Council approved adding hotel workers to its worker recall ordinance. After adding hotel workers to its worker retention ordinance at its last meeting, the Council also added hotel workers to its recall ordinance.
The ordinance mandates that employers of food service, security and building maintenance services in hotels with more than 50 rooms or venues with more than 8,000 capacity offer employees their jobs back after laying them off. The worker protections apply to contracts of three or more months that are at least $25,000.
Several members of the public, mostly from Unite Here Local 19, a food service workers union, supported the item. No one spoke against the addition. Sarah McDermott, a spokesperson for the union, called it a “no cost, common sense” law.
The Council seemed to agree, voting unanimously to add hotel workers to the ordinance, which secures hotel workers’ jobs by seniority.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor said many hotel workers have been working the same job their entire lives, so they deserve jobs.
“They should not have to compete,” she said. “They should be able to get their jobs back because they earned them. These are the workers that make the hospitality industry successful. They are working for the City … they are the front face representing our city.”
Failing to follow the ordinance, which requires employers to give laid-off employees five days to respond, would result in civil action and could include attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
City Outsources Safety Net Programs To County
The Council also approved taking $50,000 from the emergency rental assistance fund to pay for the City’s participation in the County’s isolation and quarantine support program.
The approval will fund 12 motel rooms, transportation, medical services and food for Santa Clarans through the County. Those services ceased in September after the City opted out of the County program.
Originally, Cynthia Bojorquez, Assistant City Manager, said the County asked for more than $350,000 for the City to participate in the program. She said the City’s need for the services did not justify the cost the County was asking for.
City Manager Deanna Santana told the Council she had spoken to County officials who supported the $50,000 allocation. Participation in the program would run through the end of the year. The motion passed unanimously.
Council Hears Report On New Laws
The Council also heard a report on state legislative actions.
Casey Elliot, State Capitol Director at Townsend Public Affairs, detailed some more relevant laws during the 2020 California legislative session.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elliot called this year’s session “very unique.” Lawmakers introduced 2,223 bills and passed 428, 372 of which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law.
That number is by far the lowest number of bills signed into law since the Reagan era, Elliot said. By comparison, the Governor signed 870 bills into law in 2019, 1,016 into law in 2018 and 859 in 2017.
“The result of that was the legislator really had to focus their efforts on a few core areas,” Elliot said.
Independent of COVID-19 relief, Elliot said those areas were police reform, social justice, wildfire response and housing. Bills focused on social justice and police reform dominated the back half of the session while housing bills were the focus pre-pandemic.
Two housing bills of note were AB 725 and AB 434. The former places mandates on regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) to make a larger percent of housing moderate density housing. The latter unifies the application process for housing projects. Newsom signed both into law.
Elliot pointed to AB 1196, which prevents police from performing carotid choke holds, as an example of police reform. Some bills that didn’t get much attention during the session will likely return in 2021, he said.
Consent Calendar Spending
- A 1-year, $171,595 contract with Ottawa-based N. Harris Computer Corporation, for “support and maintenance” to “memorialize the software products and configurations that are licensed to the City.”
- A $1.69 million, 19-month contract with Energy and Resource Solutions, Inc. for commercial and industrial energy audit and rebate management services. The item authorized Santana to execute up to five 1-year extensions through June 2027.
The Council meets again Tuesday, Nov. 17 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.
Members of the public can participate in the City Council meetings on Zoom at https://santaclaraca.zoom.us/j/99706759306; Meeting ID: 997-0675-9306 or call 1(669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclaraca.gov.