01/2013 Labor's Edge Blog Articles
Recycling Workers Convention to Expose “Dirty Secrets” Behind East Bay Recycling Operations
Most of us don’t know what happens to our recycling after we take it to the curb each week.
On Saturday February 2nd, hundreds of recycling workers will gather in Oakland to expose a host of serious problems -- including an alarming number of injuries to recycling workers, rat infestations, poverty-level wages and illegal retaliation against a predominantly immigrant workforce -- to an audience of elected officials and policy makers who oversee this supposedly “green” industry. On Saturday, come here the stories of these workers and their efforts make their jobs safer, improve services and win fair pay for the dangerous and difficult jobs that they perform.
More posts by Roy SanFilippo
Federal, State and Local Lawmakers Join Workers and Retirees to Stand Up for the Social Safety Net
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (which we call Medi-Cal in CA) are literally a lifeline to our nation’s seniors, those with disabilities and low-income workers. Yet, Republicans in Congress are now threatening these vital programs by proposing devastating, unnecessary cuts as part of a manufactured “debt crisis.”
We all have someone in our lives who relies on some aspect of the social safety net to survive. Maybe it’s a grandparent who worked tirelessly for decades to support your family and is now able retire thanks to Social Security. Maybe it’s the sick child of a low-income family friend who wouldn’t be able to afford medical treatment without Medi-Cal. Maybe it’s a disabled neighbor who needs Medicare to pay for life-saving medications. Maybe it’s your spouse, or your child, or your parent... or you.
More posts by Rebecca Band
Medi-Cal Expansion: Covering More Californians for Less
Today, the California Legislature began a Special Session called by Governor Brown to implement aspects of the federal health reform law, including changes to Medi-Cal.
Under the Affordable Care Act, in 2014 California can expand Medi-Cal to low-income adults under age 65, including those without children living at home, a group not currently eligible unless they meet certain disability criteria. An estimated 1.4 million California adults will be eligible for this expansion, of which between 750,000 and 910,000 are expected to enroll by 2019, according to a recent report I co-authored with colleagues from the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
The federal government will pay all medical costs for these newly-eligible enrollees from 2014 to 2016 and no less than 90 percent in future years, bringing billions in new federal dollars to the California economy.
More posts by Laurel Lucia
California Unions’ “Silver Linings Playbook”
Last week’s annual national union membership numbers were eye-opening, and well, pretty depressing. The relentless attacks on unions nationwide have caused overall union density to drop to a startlingly low 11.3%. The share of union members as part of the workforce is the lowest it’s been in 97 years. That’s not just bad news for unions, that’s really bad news for everyone.
But despite last week’s bad news on a national level, there were silver linings. Not the least of which is the trend here in California.
Unions in California are growing. That’s right, growing. Last year, California union membership grew by more than 110,000 members and actually increased overall density to 17.2%. And that all happened whilw California's economy, which now leads the nation in job growth, has been expanding.
More posts by Steve Smith
Channeling Poverty: Broke v. Poor on TV
In the present (increasingly precarious) workforce more young people with expensive humanities degrees are being forced to utter a phrase that couldn’t be further from the high language of the academy: “May I take your order?” In an awesome new piece in The Nation, Nona Willis Aronowitz draws an important distinction between workers who are forced to take low-paying jobs despite their education and those who are making ends meet the only way they know how.
Aronowitz uses the protagonists from several popular new shows to indicate larger workplace trends. From The Nation: "Watching the season premieres of HBO’s Girls and Showtime's Shameless this past Sunday put the contrast in stark relief. The two main characters, Girls’s Hannah and Shameless’s Fiona, are both penniless twentysomething women finding their way through big cities, but they live in completely different worlds."
More posts by Matthew McDermott
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis: A Champion for All Workers
After four years in President Obama’s Cabinet, Hilda Solis recently announced she’s stepping down from her position as Secretary of Labor. As those of us in California know, Hilda is a lifelong champion for workers. As Secretary of Labor, she used her position to advance workers’ rights in many ways, never forgetting her humble roots as the daughter of a union family in Southern California.
More posts by Art Pulaski
Bad Karma at Hyatt Regency San Francisco
Each year some 2000 yoga enthusiasts assemble at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco, California for “a great convergence of yogis of all ages and backgrounds” states convention sponsor Yoga Journal. The extremely liberal and tolerant “city by the bay” seems the perfect spot to spiritually and intellectually delve into yoga principles of social service and physical purification.
“But there is one huge problem,” according to 19-year veteran yoga instructor Sri Louise. “There is a huge disconnect with our ethical values by scheduling a convention at a union boycotted hotel that has a lousy safety record and mistreats it employees.”
More posts by Carl Finamore
3.5 Million Jobs at Stake if Infrastructure Continues to Crumble
What would it cost if the nation’s crumbling infrastructure of bridges, roads, rails, sewer systems, power grids, airports and more is allowed to deteriorate at its current pace? Some 3.5 million jobs and $3.1 trillion in lost economic output by 2020. What would it cost to avoid that? About $1.1 trillion in additional investment.
Sure sounds a like a great return on the investment and it is, according to a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
More posts by Mike Hall
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