Labor's Edge Blog Articles
AFSCME Members in Action Shake Up Orange County
It was a virtually unprecedented show of labor power and unity in politically conservative Orange County, CA, when hundreds of County Eligibility Workers turned out at two high-profile public awareness actions this week.
On May 6 and May 7, the workers joined forces with religious leaders, the Orange County Labor Federation, the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) and other supporters, first at a somber evening vigil and then at a spirited rally, to demand that the County Board of Supervisors do the fiscally and ethically responsible thing by funding Social Services at sufficient levels.
More posts by Erica Zeitlin
Take Action: Tell the White House to Fix the US Postal Service & Save Thousands of Quality Jobs
Contrary to what you may have heard, the US Postal Service isn't broke -- but thanks to an unfair mandate from Congress, it's broken. And we need your help to fix it.
Here are the facts: A Congressional mandate requires the Post Office to pre-fund 75 years of future retiree health benefits over 10 years. About 90% of USPS financial losses since 2007 are due to this mandate, which cost the USPS $11.1 billion last year alone. All to pre-fund retiree health care for workers who may not even be born yet! This is just wrong, and it must change.
More posts by John Beaumont
Out-Foxing Fox? Stop Koch Takeover of L.A. Times
Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who fund a number of extreme right-wing organizations and are major contributors to the tea party and bankrollers for host of anti-worker state ballot initiatives and legislation, now have their sights set on building a major media empire.
They are expected to make a $600 million-plus bid to purchase the Tribune Co. and its eight regional newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel and the Hartford Courant, and more than 20 TV stations like WGN in Chicago and KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles.
More posts by Mike Hall
My Story: Winning a Union at Pomona College
May Day was extra special for me this year. My heart was filled with joy and pride, because it was my first day as a member of UNITE HERE.
Last Tuesday, the dining hall workers of Pomona College said yes to having a union. We had dreamt that the day would come for three years. Words cannot express the power we felt in joining the 20,000 union brothers and sisters from UNITE HERE Local 11, who stood by us throughout our fight.
We overcame a lot of obstacles to get to this point. Most importantly, we transformed ourselves. We developed the courage to take our destiny into our own hands. We stood up and demanded a voice at work.
More posts by Benny Avina
IATSE, NABET-CWA and IBEW Unite for Justice at Fox TV Stations
The International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA) are standing together at FOX TV stations in Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Los Angeles.
Negotiations have been dragging on for months -- and even years -- at WFLD, WNYW/WWOR, WTXF, WTTG/WDCA, and KTTV/KCOP, and are about to begin at WJBK. FOX management has insisted on turning back the clock on our wages, our jurisdiction, and our benefits.
More posts by Steve Ross
An Alternative to Austerity? Thousands Say “Tax Wall Street”
They came, they danced, they marched, 2,000 people spirited and strong, Robin Hood's merry band of men and women, through the streets of Washington April 20.
Ending up astride a prominent government building, christened with a new name and a naming ceremony. No more U.S. Treasury, now, the banner declared, "The U.S. Treasury. A Citigroup Subsidiary. Jack Lew, Inc., CEO."
"We could end AIDS, reverse climate change, fund jobs and health care. Who do you work for Secretary Lew?" asked Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health GAP (Global Action Project). "You work for the people, not Wall Street."
More posts by Charles Idelson
Labor History Month Celebrates Workers’ Contributions
One of California’s best-kept secrets is that May is Labor History Month. Signed into law as AB 2269 (Swanson) in 2012 by Governor Jerry Brown, its purpose is to encourage schools "to commemorate this month with appropriate educational exercises that make pupils aware of the role the labor movement has played in shaping California and the United States."
That role is the making and defense of the middle class. Unions have been, and remain, by far the most important engine in creating the American Dream, homeownership for the millions, and a better life for each generation. Most of the middle class arrived in that economic neighborhood when working people got together, formed unions, and wrested a fair share of what they produced from their employers. In other words, it was by acting like a working class that most of our families became middle class.
More posts by Fred Glass
Thousands Hit the Streets on May Day to Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Gerrardo came here from Mexico nearly 20 years ago. He has three children (the oldest is 14, and the youngest is 2), and when he talks about his good union job painting homes and buildings in the Oakland area, he beams with pride. For Gerrardo, having a secure job where he can earn enough to take care of his family is what the American Dream is all about -- and he wants other families to have those same opportunities as well.
Yesterday, as Gerrardo marched alongside thousands of other immigrant workers, students, advocates, supporters and families with small children at the May Day march in East Oakland, he described what motivated him to take to the streets:
More posts by Rebecca Band
Math Should Trump Politics in California Pension Debate
If there’s one thing the debate over public employees’ pensions has taught us, it’s that California needs to invest more in mathematics instruction in its public schools.
When Stanford professors who receive special interest funding for their work and self-proclaimed ”taxpayer” organizations bankrolled by anti-union groups wag their finger at an an investment system that yields 8 percent annual returns, it’s clear there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the numbers. No wonder the state budget is never balanced.
More posts by Lou Paulson
Will Millennials Come Back to Labor?
As we approach International Workers' Day, also known as May Day, it's hard not to wonder about the future of the labor movement, and whether or not young people in the United States will wake up and see that joining labor unions could be a part of the solution to the nation's 22.9% youth unemployment rate.
Somewhere between the hate propaganda promoting the "dangers" of joining labor unions (including bringing us a weekend and the 40-hour work week), and outsourcing millions of jobs overseas, the millennial generation has been raised to turn our backs on labor, and pray for a job at Google where we might be able to get fair working standards like a free bowl of Cap'n Crunch or a bike share program.
More posts by Carmen Berkley
New Report: Taxpayers on the Hook When Corporate Giants Dump Workers onto Medi-Cal
For years, we’ve known big companies like Walmart have been shifting their health care costs onto taxpayers. Now a new report from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research shows just how widespread the problem is, projecting that as many as 380,000 workers for big companies will end up on the state’s Medi-Cal program by 2019.
For taxpayers, that’s a pretty tough pill to swallow. In 2011, Walmart made $477 billion in profits. The company’s CEO raked in nearly $21 million last year. And yet, Walmart and other large companies don’t think twice about cutting workers’ hours and wages to such a low level that workers have to get health care through taxpayer-funded Medi-Cal.
More posts by Steve Smith
Stop AB 1309: Because Professional Athletes Deserve Workers Comp Too
There is no question that the game of football is dangerous. NFL players get injured on the job – so many that an “injury report” section is ubiquitous in our sports page. In fact, a study run by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that the risk of death associated with neurodegenerative disorders is about three times higher among NFL players than the rest of the population.
NFL athletes are not merely players, they are also employees.
Their employers are now trying to take away their collectively bargained right to Workers Compensation Benefits in California. It is not right, and it sets a dangerous precedent.
More posts by Rachel Hooper
Special Event: Understanding The Art and Science of Organizing
Why do we organize? How do we link workplace, community and electoral campaigns? How do we connect internal and external organizing? How does member-organizing fit into a comprehensive campaign? How should we use the social media?
All these questions and more will be addressed at "ORGANIZE! The Art and Science of Organizing," and exciting conference on organizing for labor and community power in the 21st century.
More posts by William Shields
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