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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Articles by Steve Smith


1/26/16

Where are the Jobs? New Reports Show TPP Fails Workers

When it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the operative question for Americans to ask is “Where are the Jobs?” According to two new independent analyses, they’re nonexistent.

The Obama administration, as part of its full-throated defense of the deal, is touting a new report from the Peterson Institute that claims the TPP will increase exports and raise wages. More on that specious claim in a minute. But the kicker in this report is that the TPP won’t add jobs, despite job creation being central to the Obama administration’s and big business supporters’ argument in support of the deal. In fact, the report states it will lead to “job churning” from manufacturing to service sector jobs.


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1/12/16

Powerful Corporate Interests Attempt Power Grab with Friedrichs Case

By Steve Smith

There’s been a good amount of hullabaloo in recent days about a Supreme Court case that threatens to undermine the ability of working people to stand together to negotiate a fair wage and decent benefits. Oral arguments in the case, Friedrichs v CTA, were presented before the Court yesterday. The case involves the Court re-examining a 40-year precedent that allows unions to charge fair-share fees for representing those who choose not to join the union but still benefit from the contracts it negotiates.


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11/12/15

Underpaid Workers across California Mobilize to Win $15 and a Union

By Steve Smith

Thousands of underpaid workers across California mobilized Tuesday in a historic show of solidarity for higher wages, social justice and equality in cities from San Diego to Sacramento.

Striking workers from McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s joined home care, child care, and other low-wage workers at a massive afternoon rallies at City Halls Tuesday afternoon – part of 500 protests nationwide to demand that elected leaders everywhere stand up for $15 an hour and union rights.


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10/30/15

On Workers’ Rights, California Makes the Grade

By Steve Smith

This week the Congressional Democrats released a report showing how states stack up on a range of workplace issues from minimum wage and paid sick day laws to nondiscrimination protections for LGBT workers and accommodations for pregnant workers.  California made the grade, with a perfect score on the issues the report graded.


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9/21/15

OC Register Shines a Spotlight on Forced Arbitration

By Steve Smith

What would you do if your boss told you that either you sign away your rights or you won’t get your holiday bonus? That was the dilemma facing Steve Hamil, who worked as a machinist at a Southern California surgical device company.

Hamil’s story was detailed in Sunday’s Orange County Register...


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9/3/15

AB 219 Closes Wage Loophole on Public Construction Projects

By Steve Smith

California has long been committed to ensuring that anyone employed on a public works construction project earns a living wage. That just means the wages paid to women and men who build the public structures we all use aren’t driven into poverty. The wages are set by region based on cost of living and other factors to ensure that both workers and taxpayers are protected. It’s this kind of stability and fairness that ensures these important projects are completed on time by skilled professionals who do the job right.


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8/20/15

Time to End Forced Arbitration – Urge Senators to Vote YES on AB 465

By Steve Smith


Whenever we start a new job, we expect to have a stack of paperwork to fill out, with documents to sign. But what we don’t expect is for the boss to demand that we sign a document that basically nullifies our rights. Under the latest scheme to cheat workers, that’s exactly what’s happening. Just ask car wash worker Yoel Matute.


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8/18/15

Film Tax Credit Brings Good Jobs Home to California

By Steve Smith

I’ll be honest…I’m not a fan of most tax breaks for businesses. More often than not, they add up to a massive giveaway to corporate CEOs that does little to nothing to create jobs or help workers. For evidence, look no further than Scott Walker’s Wisconsin.


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7/15/15

California is a NO ALEC Zone!

By Steve Smith

Next week, corporate lobbyists, right-wing millionaires and a host of one-percenters will descend upon San Diego for American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting, a national gathering in which these special interests wine and dine conservative lawmakers and plot strategies to screw working people out of things like a decent wage, health care and retirement security.


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6/26/15

Forced Arbitration: Stacking the Deck Against Workers

by Steve Smith

When you start a new job, you expect to fill out a pile of paperwork relating to your employment. What you don't expect is for your boss to slip in a document that effectively nullifies your rights as a worker and demand that you sign it as a condition of employment. It's called forced arbitration, and it's an underhanded practice that's on the rise.


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