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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Blog Articles


Happy 22nd Birthday, FMLA!

We've got work to do before you turn 23...

By Rachel Johnson

FMLA was a game changer - millions of families in America have been protected since its adoption in 1993. There is no question that FMLA deserves much celebration.

However; save for a few changes, FMLA has gone largely untouched for decades. This historic legislation was adopted nationally the same year pilots aired for X-Files and Boy Meets World. Fast forward to 2015: Girl Meets World is now on the air but we're still waiting on necessary improvements to FMLA.

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Speaker Atkins Unveils Critical Plan to Rebuild Transportation Infrastructure, Create Good Jobs

by Steve Smith

About 1/3 of all the bridges and overpasses in our state are showing signs of deterioration (i.e. crumbling). Seventy percent of our urban roads and highways are congested. California has the second-highest share of roads in “poor condition” in the nation.

Today California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) announced a long-overdue proposal to rebuild our run-down roads and bridges, ease traffic congestion and create a lot of good, middle-class jobs doing it.

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Organizing Stewards Gear Up for an Action-Packed Year in 2015

by Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245

IBEW 1245’s ground-breaking “Organizing Steward” program has only been in effect for 18 months, but it’s already making a remarkable difference in the culture of activism in the union.

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More Than a Game: It’s Time We Put Our Money Where Our Values Are

by Cherri Senders, Labor 411








The Super Bowl reflects the best of America. Not just because we get to watch some of America’s greatest athletes participating at the highest level in their sport. Nor is it the glitzy, over-the-top halftime shows. It’s not even because the Super Bowl is one of this country’s last communal viewings, with more than 110 million Americans expected to tune in to witness the action in Glendale, Arizona.

No, the Super Bowl reflects the best of us because it epitomizes the Land of Opportunity that rewards hard work — from the athletes on the field, to the broadcast crews, to all of the stadium and support staff it takes to put on a show like this.

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California Nurses Ratify New Pact with Kaiser Permanente

by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO

California registered nurses, members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU), who work at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics in northern and central California voted overwhelmingly (93%) to ratify a new three-year contract reached last week. The agreement covers 18,000 RNs and will give them a stronger voice on patient care and provide breakthrough improvements in workplace protections along with economic gains.

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Physicians to the University of California: Be Fair to Those Who Care

UAPD Doctors strike for the first time in 25 years












by Suzanne Wilson

Physicians across California are standing together today to send a message to the University of California (UC) today: respect your doctors! The Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) represents doctors who provide healthcare to students on UC campuses and are striking today in an effort to urge the UC to bargain in good faith.

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New Economic Policy Institute Report Details Economic Challenges Facing UC Workers

By Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 2010

More than 80 percent of University of California support staff employees are paid wages too low to provide the basic necessities of life in the areas where they live and work, according to preliminary findings of a study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute.

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It’s Time to Clean out Dark Money in Politics

Tell the CA Supreme Court: Give CA voters the opportunity to overturn Citizens United!

5 years later, Citizens United is still keeping our political system in the gutter.

by Tim Molina, Courage Campaign

Today marks the five year anniversary of Citizens United -- the U.S. Supreme Court’s most damaging decision in the history of American democracy, which opened the floodgates for corporate money in politics and unlimited spending by billionaires such as the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson.

Hundreds of courageous Californians are taking to the streets in San Francisco and Los Angeles to show that people power can defeat corporate power. For those of you who can’t make it today, you can still make a difference by signing our petition to the Supreme Court

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Inviting LeDaya Epps to the State of the Union Highlights the Benefits of Union Apprenticeships

by Rachel Johnson









When you’re tuning in to the President’s State of the Union address tonight, keep an eye out for LeDaya Epps. This inspirational mother of three and proud member of Labor's International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 300 spends her days working on a project to expand the light rail train line for LA Metro to the Los Angeles International Airport. It’s no wonder that Labor Department Secretary Tom Perez invited her to be a guest of the First Lady at tonight’s address.

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Martin Luther King Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice

by Martin J. Bennett

Commemorations on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday tend to portray a moderate civil rights leader who aimed to end segregation and racial discrimination by nonviolent direct action.

Often forgotten is his lifelong belief that a "radical restructuring of the architecture of American society" was needed, and that the fight for racial equality and the struggle for economic justice are intertwined.

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We’re Not Buying the Pension-Busting Hype

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

Chicken little is alive and well. Those who seek to undercut the retirement security of hard-working public servants are once again trying to whip up mass hysteria about pensions, cherry-picking data from  a website recently created by State Controller John Chiang in an effort to fool the public. As usual, the fact-challenged pension-busters -- and a number of media outlets -- totally missed the mark in their shallow analysis of pension data, which Dave Low of Californians for Retirement Security notes in a San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed.

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Homecare workers deserve overtime pay – and so much more

For-profit homecare agencies are threatening homecare workers’ new rights to overtime pay. But they’re fighting back.

By Allison Padgett, United Domestic Workers of America

In December 2011, California caregivers Michelle Wise and Elva Munoz stood next to President Obama as be announced some major news. The regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were being amended to extend a minimum wage, overtime pay, and other wage protections to America’s homecare workers, including In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers in California, for the first time.

Over four years later, caregivers in California are still fighting for these fundamental workplace protections. Support them by signing their petition to Governor Brown today.

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Teamsters Call On Apple, Yahoo, Ebay, Zynga, Genetech, Amtrak To Support Compass Drivers

By International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Rome Aloise, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif., sent letters to the CEOs of six East Bay-area companies this week, asking them to support the unionization efforts of the drivers that transport their employees. The drivers, employees of Compass Transportation, are seeking union representation and a contract.

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Groundbreaking a Major Leap Forward for Job-Creating High-Speed Rail

By Sara Flocks

California has always been a state of visionaries and risk-takers. From Silicon Valley to Hollywood and everywhere in between, creative and innovative thinkers have taken risks to develop new products, new industries and new inventions. Investment by the public in the state’s highways, bridges, universities and skilled workforce has allowed visionaries to make their dreams a reality.

Today, California continues our proud tradition as a leader in both vision and investment. Leaders from labor, business and government gathered in Fresno to break ground on the most ambitious public works project in the country—high-speed rail. California’s 500-mile high speed rail system will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles with the spine built in the Central Valley.

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