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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Blog Articles


Black History Month Labor Profiles: Rachel Bryan

by Kevin Banatte and Kenneth Quinnell

Rachel Bryan is currently the governmental relations and community liaison at Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 595 in Stockton, Calif. She became involved in the labor movement as a member of the local’s apprenticeship program.

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More posts by Kenneth Quinnell


Stir Up Apple!

by Rachel Johnson

Tech is booming. Record-breaking profits, inspiring innovations, ideas that turn into life-changing products are all examples of the news we hear about tech companies in California. The top 150 companies brought in over $103 billion in profits in 2013, and this was pre iPhone 6!

But this prosperity is not being shared with everyone who works for the tech industry.

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Art Pulaski: Workers are Left in the Dark with Fast Track

by Rachel Johnson

There’s trouble brewing in Washington D.C. for American workers.  In the coming weeks, our congress will decide whether or not to pass Fast Track legislation that will allow trade deals to be made behind closed doors and without any oversight from the people most impacted: American workers.

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Continuing the legacy of the Civil Rights and Labor Movements

Q&A with Willie Pelote Sr., AFSCME

by Rachel Johnson

In honor of Black History Month, we sat down with one of California's most dynamic labor leaders, Willie Pelote with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to discuss the intertwining history of the labor movement and the civil rights movement and how to continue that legacy.


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New Grand Alliance Mobilizes to Save Our Public Postal Service

by Kenneth Quinnell

In the face of aggressive attacks on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), a wide range of national organizations are standing up and fighting for one of the more widely used and important public goods in the United States. The Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service unites more than 60 groups in opposition to weakening the USPS for the sake of private investment and profit. Actor and activist Danny Glover supports the alliance and explains why, in a new video (see above) sponsored by the organization.

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Scheduling Ahead Can Keep Working Families from Falling Behind

by Jessica Bartholow

Six out of every ten Californians with incomes below the poverty line (less than $25,000 for a family of four) live in a working family.

Working for low-wages not only leaves working families with not enough money to last the month, it also means they go without their basic needs met. According Shelved: How Wages and Working Conditions for California’s Food Retail Workers have Declined as the Industry has Thrived, authored by Saru Jayaraman of U.C. Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center and co-founder/co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and U.C. Davis Associate Professor of Community and Regional Development Chris Benner, many low-income workers in the retail industry and food retail industry were paid so little that they were unable to afford enough food to prevent hunger for them and their family.

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Californians Stand Up to Texas Judge

by Rachel Johnson, California Labor Federation

Yesterday Judge Andrew Hanen, a district court judge in Texas, issued a politically-charged injunction to block the implementation of immigration initiatives designed by President Obama to improve our system for millions of immigrants living and working in the United States. Today was supposed to kick-start the planned expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, granting immigrants at least 30 years old who came to the US as children and teenagers the right to apply for deportation relief and work authorization. 

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Long Beach Resident-Physicians Vote to Join Union!

Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare welcomes housestaff from St Mary Medical Center

The Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare (CIR) hit the ground running in 2015! Within the first month of the year, our Southern California region welcomed 37 resident-physicians from St Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. It is thrilling to be a part of a union that continues to grow and thrive in spite of the many challenges facing unions in our country today, particularly a union largely comprised of young and notoriously busy healthcare professionals.


By Dr. Joanne Suh, Southern California Regional Vice President

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Standing together to address violence in CA hospitals

Unions are driving force for new workplace violence standards for healthcare providers and patients

by Rachel Johnson

Delivering compassionate and efficient care to Californians is something that should be appreciated and regularly applauded. When our doctors, nurses, and hospital staff stand up to bring attention to unsafe working conditions, it’s imperative for our state leaders and regulators to listen.

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More posts by Rachel Johnson


Unions call for a new chapter in US-Honduras relations

by David Bacon

A new report by US trade unions has strongly criticised the US government’s policies in Honduras.


AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre led a delegation of US labour leaders to meet with their Honduran counterparts. “What we witnessed was the intersection of our corporate-dominated trade policies with our broken immigration system.”

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The New Heartland: “We’re Like the India of the U.S.”

Q&A with Rob England

By Maria Bustillos

Rob England, the statewide political coordinator for the Communication Workers of America, has an easy laugh and a perceptive expression; he is 31 with dark hair, a plaid shirt and a neatly trimmed short beard. I interviewed him on Thursday at Dagny’s, an unassumingly cool downtown Bakersfield coffee house that serves good coffee in colorful, mismatched ceramic mugs.

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California caregivers stage daily vigils at Governor’s office

By Margitte Kristjansson
When Governor Brown announced that he was stopping implementation of overtime pay and other wage protections for hundreds of thousands of IHSS homecare workers, the caregivers of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 launched into action.

Yesterday marked the start of just one of their many statewide actions in the fight to win back their rights: every day in February, homecare workers are staging a vigil starting at 10 AM outside of the governor’s office.

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More posts by Margitte Kristjansson


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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