Yesterday (April 23) marked the latest in a string of protests staged by the American Federation of Musicians against Marvel Entertainment for outsourcing film music work overseas.
Musicians distributed informational leaflets to employees and passers-by outside the entrance of St. Vincent Medical Center at a 6 a.m. location shoot for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which the studio plans to score in Europe.
Later that afternoon a group of more than 20 musicians demonstrated outside the El Capitan Theatre in advance of the following day's premiere of Marvel's "Iron Man 3," scored in London.
A California legislative panel yesterday approved a bill that would bar employers from threatening workers about their legal status when they file complaints with the state or try to organize. It's a big win for immigrant workers who speak out against wage theft and dangerous work conditions.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved AB 263, sponsored by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina). The bill would prohibit employers from asking for more paperwork from workers after they have been hired. Union-busting companies have been using this egregious practice -- requesting additional paperwork -- to intimidate employees and frighten them out of organizing or filing complaints.
For five years a chorus of voices has been predicting bankruptcy for Los Angeles, while often calling for deeper cuts to city employee pensions. Today, however, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 that includes a one-time surplus of $119 million. While some of that surplus would rely on additional pay and benefit reductions for city workers, even without such cuts the city would have a projected surplus of close to $100 million.
“It’s better than seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – we’re almost out of the tunnel!” Matt Szabo, Mayor Villaraigosa’s deputy chief of staff, told Frying Pan News in an interview last week.
Inside a tangle of scaffolding that rises above the modest homes of a south-central San Diego neighborhood, a new energy-efficient school is taking shape.
On the second floor of the skeletal structure, a young man in a hardhat carefully measures and bends a metal conduit to a precise angle. Then he climbs a ladder and connects the thin pipe to an electrical switch box on the ceiling, where it eventually will hold wires over the heads of middle-school students.
The young worker is Artem Voloshanovskiy. A year ago, he was selling used cars and wondering where his life was headed. Now he's an apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). At age 22, he's learning a trade and building a solid career while proudly helping build a state-of-the-art school.
At a time when income inequality is rising and the middle class is shrinking, Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 569 and the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council are doing their part to help working families not only survive, but thrive in the face of significant economic obstacles. The Southern California-based unions operate the National City Park Apartments, which support low- to moderate-income families by providing affordable housing in a nice, but expensive, neighborhood.
What’s wrong with California’s enterprise zone (EZ) program? In today’s Orange County Register, California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski lays it out. And it’s a long and ugly list.
In an op-ed titled “Enterprise Zone Boondoggle,” Pulaski blasts the EZ program as a “bloated mess of wasteful government spending” that’s costing taxpayers more than $700 million a year without creating new jobs. "Tax credits can make California more competitive, if done properly. But when a wasteful government program like enterprise zones picks winners and losers, takes money out of our schools, encourages low-wage hires over middle-class jobs and does nothing to provide incentive to create new jobs, we call that a boondoggle," Pulaski wrote.
Hundreds of workers descended on the Capitol yesterday as part of the California Labor Federation’s legislative conference lobby day with a simple message for both Democrats and Republicans in office: “End the Corporate Gravy Train.” They were referring to the state’s wasteful enterprise zone program, which takes money away from schools, infrastructure and other valuable services to line the pockets of corporate CEOs at Walmart and other large, profitable corporations.
After our huge political victories in 2012, the California Labor movement is setting its sights on a year of major legislative accomplishments in 2013. From corporate tax breaks to immigration reform to environmental protections and health care, we’re working with hundreds unions across the state to move one of our most aggressive legislative campaigns in California history.
Yesterday, more than 600 labor leaders and union activists gathered in Sacramento for California Labor’s annual Joint Legislative Conference, co-sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the State Building & Construction Trades Council. This action-packed two-day event is an intensive crash-course on all of the vital pieces of legislation that Labor is seeking to pass this year in California, and it also gives participants the chance to lobby their legislators directly in support of Labor’s legislative agenda.
Marquez Brothers International, a cheese facility, is about as anti-worker as they come. The company has a repeatedly harassed its employees for standing up for basic rights like safe working conditions and fair pay.
The situation at Marquez Brothers got so bad that last month Assemblymember Roger Hernández, chair of the Labor and Employment, held an oversight hearing on the harassment of immigrant workers by unscrupulous employers like Marquez. Marquez responded to the scrutiny by doubling down on their anti-worker campaign. One of the Marquez Brothers workers who attended the hearing was fired earlier this week.
I was recently accused of thinking with my heart and not with my head, of letting my passions and outrage get the best of me and guide my actions. At the time, this wasn’t a compliment. But these traits have served me well. If not for them, I may not have crossed multiple borders seeking a better life in the U.S., or been driven to action by the outrage I felt at seeing injustices suffered by the thousands of port truck drivers at the largest port in the country.
Doing away with those injustices — starting at my company, Toll — was something that I and dozens of my co-workers embarked on two years ago. We weren’t foolish enough to think that it was going to be easy, but we decided to organize and fight for improved working conditions, better wages and union recognition anyway.
The national discussion on immigration reform is heating up now that the “Gang of Eight” plans to release its detailed version of the Senate bill. As with similar efforts in past years to pass comprehensive immigration reform through Congress, the draft legislation to start the process will undergo massive changes as legislators debate the issue, especially as it moves into the House of Representatives. Yet one point has received considerably less attention in the national debate, but will probably make the most difference to most immigrants and the economy– the enforcement of workplace rights.
I have been involved in the debate on immigration reform now for more than 25 years, since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). I have seen the demographics of the country shift and have witnessed this debate in many stages and from many perspectives.
The San Diego Nine picked the perfect week for a hunger strike. They may not have known it, but the ghosts of Memphis were haunting the Mission Valley Hilton. What’s the connection?
Last week was the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was murdered in Memphis where he had gone to support striking sanitation workers. As I noted in my column for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in January, the real MLK is frequently neglected in favor of a distorted picture of a vanilla saint who just wanted us all to get along. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Emily Crockett is 29 years old. Over her working life, she can expect to lose $443,000 to unequal pay.
You’ve probably heard the statistics: Women get paid 77 cents for every $1 men get paid. The picture is even worse for women of color. And the numbers haven’t budged in more than a decade.
The wage gap is there for women no matter what level of education they have or what type of experience they have. It persists regardless of what type of job a woman holds or what point in her career she is at, and it only gets worse as she advances in her career.
Yesterday the AFL-CIO learned President Obama's budget will cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for working families. The so-called "chained" CPI will cut Social Security benefits and middle-income seniors (people who made $47,000 a year and more) will be asked to pay higher Medicare premiums.