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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Blog Articles


City College SF Takes Rogue Accreditation Agency to Task in Sacramento

This piece is an orginal AFT Local 2121 blog post.

Hundreds of faculty and community college advocates from around the state converged on Sacramento’s Citizen Hotel Friday, June 6th to mark the Accrediting Commission for Junior and Community College’s (ACCJC) semi-annual meeting. In a spirited protest outside the hotel, faculty and classified staff and students and alumni claimed their own colleges by pinning on personalizing “I am…” hearts.


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Raise the Wage: Historic Day in San Francisco for Workers

Minimum Wage, Healthcare, and Worker Retention

By Tim Paulson, San Francisco Labor Council

Raising the Minimum Wage – 11-0 with support of Mayor

The San Francisco Labor Council is proud to be part of an historic agreement reached yesterday with the Mayor and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that puts a consensus minimum wage measure on the November ballot that gets all workers to $15 with the cleanest non-exemption path in the United States.

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More posts by Tim Paulson


Teamsters President Hoffa Joins Effort to Pass AB 1897, Curb Abuses Against Temporary Workers

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

Since he entered the workforce 10 years ago, Jose Gonzalez has been designated “temporary.” Companies like Taylor Farms, the salad processing giant, use labor contractors or agencies to hire workers like Jose to do the work that makes the company profitable. Instead of making Jose a permanent worker with rights and benefits, these big corporations suspend workers in a state of insecurity. And when rights are violated, the companies absolve themselves of responsibility, pointing the finger at a subcontractor. In Jose’s case at Taylor Farms in Tracy, it’s damaging his future and robbing him of the American Dream. And millions of workers nationwide are in the same sinking boat.

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More posts by Steve Smith


UFCW States Council Releases Largest-Ever Study of California’s Grocery Industry Workers

This piece is an original UFCW Western States Council blog post.

United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council is pleased to announce the results of the largest and most comprehensive study of California’s food retail (grocery) industry to date.

Shelved: How Wages and Working Conditions for California’s Food Retail Workers have Declined as the Industry has Thrived is authored by Saru Jayaraman of U.C. Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center and co-founder/co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Center United, and U.C. Davis Associate Professor of Community and Regional Development Chris Benner, and was commissioned by UFCW Western States Council. The report contains data expected to have broad implications for the state’s grocery industry.


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Primary Election a Boon for Workers, Bust for Big Corporations

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

The results are in. While workers are celebrating some huge victories this morning, the corporate crowd is wondering what went wrong in some key races. Last night’s California primary election presented some very clear choices to voters that are critical to the direction of our state.

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More posts by Steve Smith


“Heart of Gold” — Mickey Harrington, 1939-2014

This piece is an original IBEW 1245 blog post.

Mickey Harrington: 1939-2014

If I was a member, I tell you what,” retired Local 1245 Business Rep. Ed Fortier once said, “I’d want Mickey as my rep. The guy’s got a heart of gold.”



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Paid Sick Days Bill Sails through California Assembly

By Krista Collard, California Labor Federation

The bill that would extend three paid sick days to all California workers and has been heralded as a win-win for businesses and public health, cleared a major hurdle with its passage in the State Assembly today. AB 1522 was introduced by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez and passed handily and now moves to the Senate.

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Proposed Wage Theft Law Passes Major Hurdle

By Bill Raden

This blog originally appeared in Capital & Main

Eleuterio Monroy

California wage earners received encouraging news Wednesday when Assembly Bill 2416 (Wage Theft Recovery Act) cleared a major hurdle by passing 44 to 27 on an Assembly floor vote — three votes more than needed to move to the Senate.

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More posts by Bill Raden


Ten Years a Temp: California Food Giant Highlights National Rise in Exploited Labor

By Bill Raden and Gary Cohn

A Capital & Main California Expose


A Taylor Farms security gate

Last April, when Federico Lopez and his sanitation team were ordered to clean a Taylor Farms storage area, the 23-year-old didn’t like what he saw.

Lopez remembers:

“I went into the hallway that they expected me to clean. There was pigeon feces, dead pigeons, dead bats and black mold. I’m certified for that, but the rest of my coworkers weren’t. The crew had only been given dust masks for the job by the temporary labor contractor who employed them."


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More posts by Bill Raden


Fix California’s Leaky Gas Pipes

By Jerry Acosta, BlueGreen Alliance

California’s aging natural gas pipelines are leaking. Just last year, California saw close to 30,000 leaks from one utility alone—and while they may not always be hazardous, these leaks exacerbate climate change. If that weren’t enough, current California regulations set no time limit before some types of pipelines leaks are repaired. While some proactive utilities fix them in a timely manner, we need a reliable statewide system to ensure that all leaks are repaired quickly.

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UCLA Worker Center: 50 Years of Justice

This post originally appeared on the UCLA Labor Center Blog


In 2007, Shomari Davis, currently at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) – Local 11, joined the African American Union Leadership School (AAULS) in 2007. This program brought together African American union leaders to strategize and build community. With his colleagues, he learned about implementing policy change and the science behind building and running an effective political campaign. The AAULS gave students an opportunity to learn more about people from different unions and community members, and built a strong brotherhood between them. The urgency of the issues really brought people together.

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Corona Nurses Care

By Ken Deitz, RN, UNAC/UHCP President


The day before Thanksgiving 2013, administrators at UHS Corona Regional Medical Center in Corona, CA fired 48 Certified Nurses Aids (CNAs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) without notice. While Registered Nurses (RNs) in the facility felt CNAs and LVNs were critical members of the team, administration called them in off the floor and permanently dismissed them, leaving the RNs to do the many tasks that they had always relied on CNAs and LVNs to do, from assisting patients to the bathroom to collecting samples for testing.

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More posts by Ken Jacobs


Robert Reich, Maria Elena Durazo headline IBEW 1245 leadership seminar

By Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich doesn’t mince words.

He lambasted President Obama’s recent public appearance at a Bay Area Walmart, calling whoever made the decision a “numbskull.”  And at a leadership seminar this week with 56 IBEW 1245 activists and LA Labor leader Maria Elena Durazo, Reich declared that the US economy is “rigged” in favor of the rich.

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More posts by Rebecca Band


California Unions Urge Support for State’s Veterans, Yes Vote on Prop 41

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

Over 200,000 California veterans live in poverty. More than a quarter of the nation’s homeless veterans are right here in our state. We see them on the street. Their injuries – both physical and emotional – are evident. Yet, far too little is being done to help the heroes who fought for our country find a roof over their heads at night. That’s simply shameful.

We can do better. We must do better.

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More posts by Steve Smith

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