Bookmark and Share  
Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Articles by Steve Smith


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.


Read More…


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.


Read More…


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.


Read More…


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.


Read More…


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.

 


Read More…


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.


Read More…


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.


Read More…


12/19/13

The Antidote to Income Inequality? Workers Standing Together

Steve Smith

Earlier this month, President Obama called rising income inequality the "defining challenge of our time."  The gap between the rich and everyone else is now the largest since the Great Depression. But many people still view income inequality in the abstract, because it can be tough to put a finger on how it impacts our everyday lives.

In a new Associated Press report, leading economists spell it out clearly. The income gap hurts us all and poses a major threat to the United States economy: "A key source of the economists' concern: Higher pay and outsize stock market gains are flowing mainly to affluent Americans. Yet these households spend less of their money than do low- and middle-income consumers who make up most of the population but whose pay is barely rising."


Read More…


11/12/13

Huge “Thanking Our Heroes” Event in OC Caps Union Program to Support State’s Veterans

Steve Smith

A week of union-led volunteer service projects to our nation’s veterans culminated yesterday with an inspiring event in Orange County, honoring our nation’s heroes. I was fortunate enough to join about 3,000 working families and vets at this special event, sponsored by the Orange County Employees Association and OC unions, which was part of the statewide Veterans and Labor – Partners in Service project.

It was truly an amazing day.

The day featured kids making holiday cards to send to ailing vets. The Teamsters Horseman rode Harley Davidsons in solidarity with veterans. There was a food and donation drive. Building and Construction Trades unions offered veterans information on apprenticeship programs. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, along with union leaders, local elected officials and veterans groups, unveiled the new commemorative World War II Medal of Honor postage stamp.


Read More…


11/7/13

California’s Unions Step Up for Veterans

Steve Smith

My grandfather, a member of what Tom Brokaw coined the “greatest generation,” was a chief petty officer in the US Navy during World War II, fighting along so many others for nothing less than freedom itself. He made it back. Many of those he served with did not.

Upon returning home, he needed a job. While looking for work is never easy, he found meaningful employment first as a police officer in Washington state and then later at Caltrans in the San Joaquin Valley. Back then, putting veterans to work was a priority. Government partnered with labor unions and employers to create a pathway to careers for veterans who bravely served our country, defending the freedoms many take for granted today.


Read More…


Page 1 of 10 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›