Labor's Edge Blog Articles
California’s Unions Step Up for Veterans
My grandfather, a member of what Tom Brokaw coined the “greatest generation,” was a chief petty officer in the US Navy during World War II, fighting along so many others for nothing less than freedom itself. He made it back. Many of those he served with did not.
Upon returning home, he needed a job. While looking for work is never easy, he found meaningful employment first as a police officer in Washington state and then later at Caltrans in the San Joaquin Valley. Back then, putting veterans to work was a priority. Government partnered with labor unions and employers to create a pathway to careers for veterans who bravely served our country, defending the freedoms many take for granted today.
More posts by Steve Smith
Outside The Box: Corona Teacher Uses Popular Video Game to Teach Geometry
“People say, ‘Oh, they’re just playing video games,’” says Tristan Grandy. “But it’s much more than that.” He logs in to a computer and enters what he calls “a world without limits that holds infinite possibilities.” He is playing Minecraft, one of the hottest video games on the market, where anything can be built with cubes.
Grandy shows off a virtual, three-dimensional replica of their school’s gymnasium he and classmate Aiden Lawrence are building, while other student teams construct virtual classrooms, locker rooms and other areas of their Centennial High School campus in Corona.
More posts by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Veteran’s Day Should Mean Something More
Next week, America will take a day to honor the commitment of men and women who have served our country. In California, this day is significant because it is home to more returning veterans than any other state in the Nation.
But for too many veterans, the November 11th holiday is nothing more than a gateway to a stressful holiday season filled with cold months, high utility bills and empty plates. I know this because my dad is a disabled Veteran who suffered for years with untreated and debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We were never invited to a Veteran’s Day parade or a pancake breakfast, just left to find our own way, many times our basic needs going unmet.
More posts by Jessica Bartholow
Preserving Trust & Community Safety Through Fair Detainer Policies
The inability of Congress to address the broken immigration system is forcing counties and states to address the complexity of immigration issues in a piece meal fashion. In this context, Santa Clara County stands out. The most recent example is the Santa Clara County Detainer Policy No. 3.54. This present policy ensures that limited resources do not create a two-tiered system of justice. This current policy ensures that everyone in our system receives equal treatment regardless of immigration status. There is no justifiable reason to treat people’s criminal cases differently just because of their immigration status. The Santa Clara County Detainer Policy supports equal protection guarantees under the US Constitution, while avoiding due process concerns created by ICE tactics.
More posts by Jill Malone
Serving Those Who’ve Served Our Country
Without our armed service women and men, none of us would enjoy the freedoms that we take for granted every day. In an effort to thank our Veterans for their great service to each of us and our nation as a whole, the California Labor Federation is sponsoring a day of service on Veterans Day, November 11th, and at a number of locations around the state, union members and supporters will volunteer their time to help out veterans and military families in their own communities.
More posts by Connie Leyva
Pension Cutters: Bipartisan Slogans, Right-Wing Money
Last week San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed delivered his usual speech about the benefits of slashing the retirement benefits of his city’s public employees – and why he is now pushing for a statewide ballot measure that could dramatically change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians. Reed’s initiative – which he characterizes as a bipartisan effort and which hasn’t yet qualified for the 2014 ballot — would allow the state and local governments to reduce retirement benefits for current employees for the years of work they perform after the measure’s changes go into effect. What was not usual about Reed’s speech was its setting: The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, 3,000 miles from California.
More posts by Gary Cohn
Dark Money, Honey: How a Koch Ring Got Busted
Last week’s announcement of a settlement between the state of California and two political campaign organizations linked to the Koch brothers fittingly coincided with the centenary of the first scientific explorations of Los Angeles’ La Brea Tar Pits. The history of the tar pits is pretty straightforward: For at least 38,000 years, thick, petroleum-based asphaltum has oozed up from fissures at the site, a noxious goo that long ago entrapped hapless animals as well as the predators that tried to feast on them.
More posts by Steven Mikulan
Service is Service: Why I’m Giving Back to My Fellow Veterans
In the mid-1970s, I enlisted in the United States Army and served for three years from 1976 to 1979 as a missile systems repairman for the Cobra Helicopters (TOW) missile system. I was stationed at Fulda Germany in the 11th Air Cav, where I achieved the rank of Sargent E-5. When I returned from my tour of duty overseas, I utilized my “veterans preference” to land a good union job at the U.S. Postal Service, and I’ve been there ever since -- more than 33 years.
But these days, returning veterans don’t have the same opportunities that I did. Far too many are jobless, homeless and struggling with physical and mental effects of their military service. Those brave men and women who served our country have earned – and deserve – our respect and support when they come home. That’s what inspired me to launch the non-profit Veterans Partnering With Communities, Inc. in 2011.
More posts by Danny Marquez
FPPC Levies Record Fines Against Dark Money Groups
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission today sent a strong message to shadowy out-of-state corporate special-interest groups and donors trying to influence our state’s elections by levying record fines for contributions to committees that supported Prop 32 and opposed Prop 30.
According to the Sacramento Bee, "In a campaign finance case watched around the country, California's political watchdog has levied a $1 million fine against two non-profit groups for inappropriately laundering money during last year's ballot initiative wars ... The commission also sent letters to two California committees demanding they pay the state general fund more than $15 million they received from groups that didn't properly report the source of their funds."
More posts by Steve Smith
Virtual Schools: Cyber Pie in the Sky?
Sandy Hellebrand was concerned. She needed to find a school that could educate her son Gabriel, who has autism and was about to enter high school.
Hellebrand thought she had found the perfect solution: She would enroll Gabriel and her two younger children in Sky Mountain Charter School, one of a rapidly-growing number of virtual schools in California and across the country.
After all, she reasoned, the school would provide excellent online instructional materials and instructors to guide Gabriel’s individual needs. Since Sky Mountain is a publicly funded school – although not a traditional brick-and-mortar one – the state of California would pay for her children’s education.
More posts by Gary Cohn
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