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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Articles by Steve Smith


9/10/14

Landmark Paid Sick Days Measure Signed Into Law

By Steve Smith

It’s a historic day for California workers. This morning in Los Angeles, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1522, a landmark bill to allow more than 6.5 million workers to earn paid sick days on the job.


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8/12/14

Senate must stand up to Corporate Lobby, Deliver on Paid Sick Days

By Steve Smith

As we get closer to the end of the California legislative session, you see a lot more corporate types in fancy suits roaming in and around the Capitol. The goal? Stamp out worker-friendly bills. Near the top of their hit list this year is AB 1522, an effort authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to allow all California workers to earn a few desperately needed paid sick days on the job.


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7/31/14

California Labor Convention Builds Power for Workers

By Steve Smith

Union democracy really is an awesome thing to behold. This week, the California Labor Federation held its biennial convention in San Diego, with union delegates setting the course for Labor this year and beyond. The theme: building power by standing together. At its core, that’s what the labor movement is all about. Building economic power by giving workers the opportunity to stand together to bargain for fair wages and decent benefits and building political power by mobilizing in force to elect worker-friendly candidates to office.


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7/22/14

Economics 101: Raising Taxes on Wealthy Doesn’t Kill Jobs

By Steve Smith

In the run-up to the 2012 general election, the anti-Prop 30 fear mongering was reaching a fevered pitch. The sky would fall, said groups like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) and the corporate-backed National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) if Prop 30 passed. According to these groups, demanding the ultra-rich pay their fair share to protect California schools from devastating cuts would lead to economic catastrophe.


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6/12/14

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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6/4/14

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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5/19/14

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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5/14/14

Temporary Workers Hit Capitol to Curb Abuses,  Support AB 1897

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

Every day, the State Capitol is full of paid lobbyists pushing bills on behalf of clients. So when workers come to Sacramento to support a bill, folks take notice. Today, dozens of workers from around the state made the journey to the Capitol to advocate for AB 1897, critical legislation that would curb abuses of temporary and subcontracted workers, a portion of the workforce that is growing and especially vulnerable to exploitation.

 


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3/14/14

Labor’s Annual Legislative Conference Kicks Off Monday in Sacramento

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation 

The California Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council will kick off the annual joint legislative conference on Monday at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento, with hundreds of union activists coming to the Capital city to make their voices heard on important issues for working people.


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1/13/14

Sacramento Bee Op-ed: Stemming Income Inequality Hinges on Investing in California’s Middle Class

By Steve Smith

There’s a new narrative emerging from right-wingers like Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio on the growing problem of income inequality. Rubio and California Republicans like Assemblymember Dan Logue are blaming inequality on taxes on the wealthy and government regulations that protect workers and the environment. Problem is, this new narrative is pure fantasy.

As California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski and Jessica Bartholow of the Western Center on Law and Poverty wrote in Saturday’s Sacramento Bee, Rubio and company have entered the Twilight Zone when it comes to their phony posturing on poverty and income inequality.


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