California Governor Defies Government to Offer TSA Workers Unemployment Benefits as Airport Officials Turn to Food Banks to Feed Employees

California's new governor, Gavin Newsom, told Sacramento airport workers affected by the government shutdown to apply for unemployment insurance.

Meanwhile, airport officials in San Francisco are turning to food banks to feed employees working without pay, a local charity told Newsweek.

Read more: Unpaid federal workers are now turning to food banks to feed families

"California is offering unemployment insurance to those hurt by the shutdown," Newsom wrote on Facebook alongside a video of a Thursday meeting with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at Sacramento International Airport. "The people of California should not have to suffer from Washington's games."

His remarks came after the sending of a Labor Department memo which said federal employees working without pay were ineligible for certain benefits.

According to The Sacramento Bee, the California Employment Development Department received the note regarding unemployment compensation for federal employees on Wednesday.

Newsom called the memo "about as extraordinary a letter I ever received" at the airport visit, the newspaper reported.

Benefits applications from federal employees in California jumped 200 percent during the first week of the shutdown, which hit its 28th day Friday, The Los Angeles Times stated.

The governor advised affected workers to apply for insurance benefits at a press conference last week. Some Californians furloughed or working without pay have turned to food banks because of missed paychecks.

Mark Seelig, spokesperson for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, told Newsweek that federal employees have been contacting the charity for help since January 10.

Officials at the San Francisco International Airport asked for food donations to feed around 100 staff members, Seelig said. The airport did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

The food bank is also expecting to serve more than 400 people at a special distribution for U.S. Coast Guard workers and their families on Saturday in Novato, California.

Individual federal employees are being directed to the charity's pantry network through its Find Food Locator tool, Seelig said. The food bank is also helping families apply for assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. "Because of the missed paychecks, lower-wage government workers may now be eligible," said Seelig.

The shutdown is causing "a real crisis of identity" for federal workers, Radha Muthiah, CEO of Washington, D.C.'s Capital Area Food Bank, told Newsweek Thursday. "[It's] highlighting how many people, even those with steady jobs, are just a paycheck or two away from facing economic hardship."

The governor's office did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Government Shutdown, California, TSA, Airport, Food Bank, Gavin Newsom, Benefits
Gavin Newsom speaks during an election-night event in Los Angeles on November 6, 2018. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images