01/2011 Labor's Edge Blog Articles
Rants & Raves for the Week of January 24th
* Wal-Mart seeks to repeal San Diego's big-box ordinance * Koch brothers hold secret right-wing confab in Palm Desert * Panel finds financial collapse could have been prevented * Chevron uses taxpayer money to 'green' their image *
* U.S. Chamber joins Labor to support infrastructure investment * Assemblymember Allen seeks to combat violence in Napa State Hospital * Unionization in California on the rise *
Unmasking the Billionaire’s Caucus
by Tula Connell
A handful of people with very deep pockets operate behind closed doors to attack the gains made by working people and advance their own selfish interests at the expense of our nation’s democracy. The Koch brothers are among them. This weekend, as billionaires David and Charles Koch convene a meeting of 200 massively wealthy business and conservative activists for the eighth straight year, the nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause, in conjuction with Courage Campaign, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the California Labor Federation and more than two dozen other organizations, will be holding a series of counter events.
“Uncloaking the Kochs: The Billionaires’ Caucus and Its Threat to Our Democracy” will include a Jan. 30 panel disucussion followed by a rally outside the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where the Kochs & Co. are meeting. The panel will be live streamed. To sign up for the rally, click here. To sign up for the live web stream, click here.
More posts by Tula Connell
In-Home Supportive Services Vital in Tough Economic Times
by Sara Flocks
California’s In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program provides low-income seniors and people with disabilities the care they need to live in their own homes, rather than nursing facilities. IHSS providers care for the elderly who want the familiarity of the homes they’ve lived in for decades, the terminally ill and those who cannot take care of themselves.
Governor Brown’s budget proposes deep cuts to the IHSS program that will dramatically change the lives of homecare providers and those they care for. The cuts include a reduction in the hours of care for the elderly and disabled by 8.4 percent, on top of the 3.6 percent reduction in the last budget. The cuts also eliminate services like housework and meal preparation for more than 300,000 IHSS recipients. Those cuts are particularly painful to clients who depend on their IHSS provider for the only hot meal they have all day—meals that will now be fewer and far between.
More posts by Sara Flocks
Another “Job Killer” Lie Exposed
by Donald Cohen
You may think it's a way to help your spouse or aging parent recover from a devastating illness, but to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) California's Paid Family Leave (PFL) law, enacted in 2002, is a "job killer" that costs employers billions of dollars and drives jobs out the state. Allen Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, echoed that view, calling the law "one of the worst."
But a new comprehensive study reveals that these corporate lobby groups have been crying wolf. The report, based on a survey of employers and employees, found that the California law has not turned out to be the costly "job killer" that big business warned about. To the contrary, the Paid Family Leave law has produced significant economic, social and health benefits for both male and female workers.
More posts by Donald Cohen
New Community Workforce Agreement Puts Berkeley Residents Back to Work
by Charlie Costello
At the Berkeley City Council meeting on Jan. 18, 2011, the Council voted to adopt a resolution as noted on the action calendar for that evening “authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract with the Building Trades Council and twenty two labor organizations regarding the provision of labor to City construction projects in excess of $1 million dollars for a term of three years.”
This landmark Community Workforce Agreement will not only put local residents back to work but is a model to persuade other cities to work in partnership with their local communities and labor organizations to bring the jobs home.
More posts by Charlie Costello
Time to Help Brown Stay True to His Call for Loyalty to the Community
by Art Pulaski
As I listened to Jerry Brown’s inauguration speech on Jan. 3, something he said struck a chord. “A Philosophy of Loyalty,” he called it. “Loyalty to the community that is larger than our individual needs.”
This is a concept that unionists share. It’s one of the fundamentals of our movement. But it’s a value under attack. Tune in to talk radio and you’ll hear a bombastic host inciting his audience against government. In the corporate world, the enduring loyalty is not to community, but to executive compensation.
Ideologues like Grover Norquist have also joined in the debate on California’s future, not by calling for unity, but by threatening legislators who would even consider allowing voters a say on whether revenue is part of the fix for our budget crisis.
More posts by Art Pulaski
Rants & Raves for the Week of January 17th
* Grand Hyatt management attacks workers' legal fund * House GOP votes to repeal health care reform * Blue Shield jacks up rates, again * Sen. Mike Lee calls child labor laws 'unconstitutional' *
* New report touts benefits of Paid Family Leave * AG Harris and Rep. Garamendi defend health care reform * AFL-CIO President Trumka calls of Obama to renew focus on jobs during State of the Union *
Constituents to Rep. Lungren: “Why Are You Voting to Repeal Our Health Care?”
by Katie Gjertson
Rather than addressing our stagnant economy or drafting legislation that would put people back to work, Republicans made their first move this week in the 112th Congress by voting to repeal health care reform. The Republicans’ (and a few Democrats’) position is clear: they support denying coverage to children born sick, they support insurance company practices that drop people when they get ill and deny coverage because of deadly pre-existing conditions (like acne), and they definitely support higher drug costs for seniors.
On the day of the vote in the House of Representatives, constituents of the third Congressional District (Dan Lungren – R), the Sacramento Central Labor Council and HCAN coalition partners held a press conference in front of Rep. Lungren’s Elk Grove district office to challenge the congressman’s position of siding with the insurance companies over the people in his district.
More posts by Katie Gjertson
Hotel Workers Protest Hyatt Management’s Attack on Their Legal Fund
by Riddhi Mehta-Neugebauer
Over 600 San Francisco hotel workers and community members took to the streets to defend their Legal Fund from Hyatt hotel management. The UNITE HERE Local 2 Legal Fund protects members from evictions and foreclosures and facilitates legal immigration (citizenship, work permits and family reunification).
Hyatt has asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to stop UNITE HERE Local 2 from reallocating employer contributions to the hotel workers’ Legal Fund – a fund that helps workers’ families navigate immigration laws, fight foreclosures, and deal with other difficult situations. Even though this change has no financial impact whatsoever on employers, and even though without this reallocation of funds workers’ might face cuts in legal assistance, Hyatt is trying to block the move in order to put pressure on workers to sign a concessionary contract.
More posts by Riddhi Mehta-Neugebauer
Study: California Working Families Benefit from Landmark Paid Family Leave Law
by Jenya Cassidy
The good news: Since California unions and community organizations helped pass Paid Family Leave legislation in 2002, over one million people have used the program, which provides up to six weeks of partial wage replacement for workers who take time off to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member.
A newly released report, Leaves That Pay: Employer and Worker Experiences with Paid Family Leave in California (Eileen Appelbaum & Ruth Milkman, 2011) shows that 91% of those who used the benefit said that it had a positive effect on their ability to care for a new baby, foster or adopted child. California’s Paid Family Leave program has doubled the median duration of breastfeeding for all new mothers who used it. And it also benefits new fathers, as the number of men using the program to bond with new babies has steadily increased since the law was first passed.
More posts by Jenya Cassidy
Big, Bad Blue Shield
by Sara Flocks
Blue Shield really has some nerve. The health insurance giant wants to jack up health insurance rates for Californians for the third time since October—adding up to a rate increase as high as 59 percent for some policyholders. And when Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones asked the corporation to wait 60 days so that he can review their rate increase and to give some breathing room to the 194,000 Blue Shield customers -- many who are already struggling to afford health coverage -- Blue Shield REFUSED to comply. To make matters even worse, Blue Shield is using the whole fiasco as a way to polish their public image which has been marred by a series of outrageous rate hikes.
More posts by Sara Flocks
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.—A Working Class Hero
by Dick Meister
"I AM A MAN," the signs proclaimed in large, bold letters. They were held high, proudly and defiantly, by African-American men marching through the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968.
The marchers were striking union members, sanitation workers demanding that the city of Memphis formally recognize their union and thus grant them a voice in determining their wages, hours and working conditions.
Hundreds of supporters joined their daily marches, most notably Martin Luther King Jr. He had been with the 1,300 strikers from the very beginning of their bitter struggle. He had come to Memphis to support them despite threats that he might be killed if he did.
More posts by Dick Meister
Page 1 of 2 pages 1 2 >