11/2012 Labor's Edge Blog Articles
Lame-Duck Session of Congress: Myths and Facts
In the recently convened "lame-duck" session of Congress, senators and representatives will take on a number of issues that could have major consequences for working families and retirees. Congress is considering benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and members are looking at cutting taxes for the wealthy even further. Any deal that Congress makes, though, should be based on facts and not the myths that have sprung up around taxes, the deficit and the earned benefit programs. Here are a few of the key myths and the truth behind them.
More posts by Kenneth Quinnell
Groundbreaking Study on Domestic Workers Finds Widespread Mistreatment and Systemic Low Pay
Domestic workers, such as caregivers and nannies, make all forms of other work possible and play an increasingly significant role in the U.S. economy. However, a new national study found, on average, domestic workers earn little more than minimum wage and few receive benefits like Social Security, health insurance or paid sick days.
Conducted by the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the study released today offers a startling and provocative look into the often-invisible world of domestic workers. Based on interviews with 2,086 workers across the country, researchers found domestic workers face serious financial hardships and have little control over their working conditions.
More posts by Jennifer Angarita
Who’s Running for the Exit Now?
On Sunday, November 25, 2012, we witnessed a terrible tragedy in the garment district of Dhaka in Bangladesh, a fire in a nine story garment factory that killed more than 100 people. After hearing about this fire and the descriptions of what happened, I couldn’t help but think of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, a fire that occurred in a ten story building over 100 years ago on March 25, 1911. The descriptions of exits being blocked, supervisors telling the workers that nothing was wrong and finally people jumping out of the building in an attempt to save themselves were all reminiscent of the fire in New York City that took the lives of 146 people, most of them young women.
More posts by Charlie Costello
After Black Friday’s Day of Action, What’s Next for Wal-Mart?
So the day of action at Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has passed at least for the time being. And it turned out to be much larger than the company's executives in Bentonville had predicted or care to admit.
Thousands of Wal-Mart workers and their allies protested for better wages, affordable healthcare benefits, full-time jobs and an end to management retaliation for speaking out in at least 100 cities, including in Dallas and Lancaster, Texas, Miami and Kenosha, Wisconsin, and several other locations not know for their activism. Although the final tally will not be clear for some time, "open-source" actions of some kind took place at Wal-Mart stores in 46 different states across the nation, with major demonstrations in California, Washington, New York and Massachusetts.
More posts by John Logan
Union-Made Thanksgiving Shopping List
As you prepare to head to the grocery store to pick up your Thanksgiving dinner ingredients, double check your shopping list to make sure your Turkey Day fixin's are all union made in America. Check out some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411. Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and tools from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
More posts by Jackie Tortora
Walmart-Contracted Warehouse Workers Strike For Justice
In the wake of the monumental 15-day strike and six-day, 50-mile "WalMarch" for safe jobs from the Inland Empire to the steps of city hall in Downtown L.A., workers at Walmart-contracted warehouses have seen a few improvements in their working conditions. They now have water coolers to drink from instead of a hose, they can cool off with fans, and some dangerous broken equipment has been fixed. But they still have a major uphill battle ahead of them as they continue thier fight for justice.
More posts by Danielle Tipton
Raley’s-Nob Hill Workers Return to the Job After Waging Historic Strike
Raley’s and Nob Hill workers returned to their jobs yesterday after a nine-day historic strike. Thanks to the solidarity and strength of the workers, activists and boycotting shoppers, the UFCW Local 5 and Local 8 were able to reach a tentative agreement with Raley’s-Nob Hill management preserving health care for all workers, including retirees. This settlement now goes on to the workers for ratification.
Workers at Raley’s and Nob Hill stores went on strike on Sunday, November 4th to protest unfair labor practices and proposed cuts to health care benefits
More posts by Danielle Tipton
UFCW Local 1428 Honors Veterans with Day of Service
Our nation’s veterans risk their lives to preserve our freedoms and democracy. Yet, upon returning from military service, many veterans face extraordinary challenges – economic, social and emotional. This Veteran’s Day holiday, members of UFCW Local 1428 decided to show their appreciation to veterans by giving back through a day of service that will hopefully make life a little better for those who have sacrificed so much for our country.
I was honored to join more than 150 members of Local 1428 bright and early Monday morning at St. Trinity church in Pomona to embark on a day of appreciation to veterans through community service.
More posts by Steve Smith
Raley’s-Nob Hill Workers Stage Historic Strike Against Unfair Labor Practices
Over the past 15 months, the management at Raley’s-Nob Hill stores have been violating workers’ rights at every angle. The workers have been harassed, intimidated, interrogated, threated with termination and demoted. The management has even gone so far as telling their workers to quit their union, UFCW.
Raley’s is intent on ending medical care for retirees, jeopardizing the healthcare of more than 7,400 families, reducing pay, eliminating wage premiums for working nights, Sundays and holidays, and establishing two different classes of workers: those hired after the next contract and those hired before.
More posts by Danielle Tipton
San Diego Working Families Celebrate Major Victory in Historic Mayoral Race
California's working families have a great deal to celebrate across the state this week, and nowhere is it more true than here in San Diego. Not only are we celebrating the success of Proposition 30 and well-deserved defeat of Proposition 32, on Tuesday San Diego elected Bob Filner to be the next mayor—the first Democratic mayor elected in San Diego since 1988 and the first pro-labor Mayor that I can ever remember.
It wasn’t easy. Years of steadily building infrastructure in the communities long cut off from City Hall had to come together and mobilize, and it did thanks to the most elaborate field program ever imagined in San Diego.
More posts by Lorena Gonzalez
The Prop 32 Effect
by Steve Smith
As the election results came in late Tuesday night, it became abundantly clear that the handful of billionaires and CEOs who sought to silence our voice were in for a rude awakening. Their deceptive measure, Prop 32, didn’t just fail, it tanked -- by a 12-point margin.
But our victories didn’t stop there. Labor’s ground game also played a huge role in Prop 30, the sorely-needed school funding measure, much to the chagrin of the anti-worker billionaires who thought shifting our attention to Prop 32 would be bad news for Prop 30. And that strong pro-worker turnout had ripple effects all the way down the ballot, particularly in state races.
More posts by Steve Smith
Election 2012: San Jose Minimum Wage Workers Headed for a Raise
by Stacey Hendler Ross
On Tuesday, San Jose voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to increase the minimum wage in the city from $8 to $10 an hour. Measure D drew 58% of the vote in a race where opponents outspent supporters by more than 2 to 1. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce pledged to raise more than a million dollars to keep businesses from having to pay their minimum wage workers $2 more an hour, but San Jose residents proved the increase was the right thing to do.
San Jose State sociology students, led by their professor, Scott Myers Lipton, came up with the idea and quickly drew the support of labor, non-profits and community leaders to bring the initiative to the ballot box.
More posts by Stacey Hendler Ross
Election 2012: Huge Living Wage Win for Long Beach Hotel Workers
Long Beach hotel workers and community activists made history Tuesday, passing a living wage ballot measure that will help lift 2,000 people in that city’s tourism industry out of poverty.
Long Beach was one of three cities nationwide that passed minimum wage measures (San Jose and Albuquerque were the others), and the only one that enacted a law with paid sick leave. Workers at Long Beach’s large hotels will now earn at least $13 per hour and will have five paid sick days a year.
More posts by Roxana Tynan
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