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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Blog Articles


A Recess They Won’t Forget

by Rachel Johnson

Working people of California are making sure this a recess some members of Congress won’t ever forget!

Members of Congress are visiting their home districts and states until tomorrow and with a critical vote to authorize Fast Track on trade bills looming, now is the time to make our bottom line clear: stand with working people to support good jobs! Vote NO on Fast Track!

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More posts by Rachel Johnson


Building Immigrant Worker Power

By Angie Wei

If you are organizing workers in California, it’s likely you are organizing immigrant workers.  It’s also very likely that the employer has threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when the workers begin to assert their rights and talk about forming a union.  Too often, employers use the threat of deportation as a form of intimidation, harassment, and retaliation against workers and their families.  Nothing chills an organizing drive quicker than the threat of calling ICE…it can separate workers from their children, parents and spouse.

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Sen. Wieckowski: Prioritizing financial stability for California’s working families

by Senator Bob Wieckowski

California’s economy is making tremendous strides since the Great Recession hit in late 2007. However, throughout the state, Californians have witnessed an era of vast income disparity.  Too many individuals and working families have not experienced the wage growth needed to keep up with the cost of living.

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Gains made in workforce, but obstacles persist

By Rachel Johnson

After reading the recent workforce report by Career Builder it’s easy to feel like our nation has mastered the “One step forward, two steps back” move. We have made progress but it’s also clear we have much work to do before every American has an equal shot at sharing in our nation’s economic prosperity.

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Walmart Closes Stores to Quell Worker Movement

Earlier this month, Walmart closed 5 stores in 4 states nationwide, giving workers just hours' notice that they would be laid off. The closings impacted a reported 2,200 employees who were told there was no guarantee they would be transferred or maintain their pay and hours and that if they would like to work at the stores when they reopen, they would need to reapply as if they had never worked there previously.

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Fast-Track Trade Legislation Suffers Setback in Senate

By Steve Smith

In a victory for workers, health and safety, the environment and democracy, a motion to bring Trade Promotion Authority to the Senate floor failed to garner the necessary votes, halting the effort to fast track the secretive, job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal….for now.

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More posts by Steve Smith


Report: State’s Low-Income Workers Are Falling Behind

“If we’re serious about fighting inequality, we need to understand it and track it to see how we’re doing,” Dr. Annette Bernhardt tells Capital & Main. Bernhardt is the lead author of Low Wage Work in California: 2014 Chartbook, the first of what will be an annual report from the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center. “Our goal was to show that the story of inequality isn’t just about the top one percent; it’s also about the millions of low-wage workers and their families who struggle with economic insecurity every day.”

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More posts by Dan Braun


Caring Shouldn’t Hurt

May 6 through May 12 is National Nurses Week. What better way to celebrate and show nurses we appreciate them than to take action against workplace violence and help make the workplace safer for nurses everywhere.

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Bad news, Bera

By Rachel Johnson

It’s been a rough couple of days for Congressman Ami Bera. Bera, representing communities in the Sacramento region, announced his support for Fast Track legislation in an opinion piece to the Sacramento Bee on Saturday. In his piece, Bera claimed that “The Trade Promotion Authority also requires the strongest deal yet on labor and the environment.” Unfortunately for Bera, Buzzfeed broke the news that this statement and several others from the piece were copied and pasted straight from talking points disseminated by lobbyists of corporations who stand to gain from the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

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More posts by Rachel Johnson


Nation should follow SF’s lead on minimum wage

By Edwin Lee, Tim Paulson and Bob Linscheid

Starting today, the minimum wage in San Francisco will increase to one of the highest in the nation. We’re joining together as San Franciscans — leaders in government, labor and business — to call on Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to follow our city’s lead, proving that it is possible to promote income equality while simultaneously creating America’s strongest economy. Promoting workers’ rights and creating jobs can go hand in hand, as we’ve demonstrated here in our City by the Bay. Together, we urge the nation to follow our lead, balancing the needs of America’s working poor and small businesses so that issues like minimum wage are not “us versus them,” but all of us together. At its core, minimum wage is a gender-equity issue. According to the White House, working single parents, most of whom are women, benefit when we raise the wage; it can help women work their way out of poverty and into the middle class. Estimates from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers suggest that increasing the minimum wage could also help close the gender wage gap.

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More posts by Tim Paulson


New booklets celebrate May, Labor History Month

by Fred Glass, California Federation of Teachers

May is Labor History Month.  Signed into law as AB 2269 (Swanson) in 2012 by Governor Brown, its purpose is to encourage schools “to commemorate this month with appropriate educational exercises that make pupils aware of the role the labor movement has played in shaping California and the United States.”

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More posts by Fred Glass


Fast Track for Trade Deals Threatens Good Jobs & Environment

By Art Pulaski and Sarah Rose

They’re calling it “NAFTA on steroids.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be the largest international trade deal in history – with major economic and environmental consequences here in California – but the details have been veiled in total secrecy.

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More posts by Art Pulaski


Addressing the Increasing Rate of Deaths on the Job for Latino Workers in CA

According to a report released today by the AFL-CIO, Latino workers are 19 percent more likely to be killed on the job than the national average, leading to nearly 800 deaths on the job in 2013. In California, Latinos made up almost 50 percent of all worker fatalities. 194 Latino workers died while on the job in California, an alarming increase of 42 percent from the previous year.

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Kids’ Chance embodies #ForwardFriday on Workers Memorial Day

by Rachel Johnson

Worker’s Memorial Day is more than just an observance and a day to honor our friends and family who have suffered and died on the job, it’s also a call to action. Yesterday in our ThrowbackThursday post we highlighted life for workers before Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act more than forty years ago.

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More posts by Rachel Johnson

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