Defying Trump administration orders that federal employees who are working during the shutdown cannot apply for unemployment benefits, Newsom encouraged TSA employees in the state to apply anyway.
Speaking to TSA workers at Sacramento International Airport on Thursday, Newsom explained that the Department of Labor sent an email warning federal employees against applying for benefits.
Newsom told the workers he doesn’t plan to adhere to the guidance. Calling the email “jaw-dropping” and “extraordinary,” he said, “the good news is, we’re going to do it and shame on them.”
“They are, in essence,” he continued, “threatening us for doing what we’re doing.”
The email reportedly cited a 2013 memo that said those who continue to work during the shutdown are not eligible for unemployment if the state deems them fully employed.
There are approximately 53,000 TSA agents across the country who are considered essential and therefore are required to work without pay throughout the shutdown. Newsom has urged those working in California, along with other federal employees in the state, to apply for unemployment insurance. During the Thursday meeting, he vowed to ensure they receive the benefits — despite the administration’s pledge to the contrary.