Sacramento city proposal would allow laid-off workers to be first in line for jobs

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Council is trying to help workers get their jobs back after they were laid off because of the pandemic. 

They’re hoping to do that with a new proposal allowing workers first priority when their jobs open back up. 

“Our supervisor came to every single floor and say, ‘I’m sorry, it’s your last day.’” said Enriqueta Layune. 

After working as a housekeeper for the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento for more than 11 years, Layune was laid off last March.

“We was in shock. I say, ‘What? Why?’” Layune recalled. 

That’s why during the city’s Law and Legislation Committee meeting Tuesday, the new proposal was presented. 

“Require every business in the city of Sacramento to have a return to work policy for their employees,” said Councilman Eric Guerra. 

Council members Guerra and Katie Valenzuela said when those jobs become available again, the people who were laid off should get the first priority, while also allowing employers to keep their options open. 

“Allowing employers to offer employees pre-pandemic and new employees at the same time, so they don’t have to wait for a prior employee to accept or decline before they can initiate a new offer,” Valenzuela said. 

Aamir Deen, president of the Unite Local 49 union, represents people in the hospitality industry and said more than 800 of his members were laid off in the city. He believes this type of help from the city council is a push in the right direction to, hopefully, get everyone back to work.

“If you had a job and lost it because of the pandemic, you should be able to return when it’s open,” Deen said. 

Deen added that luckily for people like Layune, the Citizen Hotel has been willing to welcome back their former employees. 

At the moment, city council still has to hear and pass the proposal before it becomes required for employers to rehire their laid off workers. There is no set date for that hearing just yet. 

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