July 06, 2012
Volume 1., Issue 237
Legislature Sends Homeowners’ Bill of Rights to Governor’s Desk
This week, the state Senate and Assembly approved the landmark Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, making California the first state in the nation to advance legislation that would effectively curb some of the most abusive foreclosure practices that have forced thousands of struggling families from their homes. The new bill, championed by Attorney General Kamala Harris, will final stop banks from foreclosing on families that are working to modify their loans, and also requires banks to give homeowners seeking a loan modification a single point of contact to make sure they don’t get the run-around.
"With California still struggling from the devastating impact of the housing crisis, this legislation puts some power and control back into the hands of homeowners,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. “In a time of deep budget cuts and ongoing recession, this victory restores hope that our state can rise above the politics of decline that’s eroding our middle class.”
Rep. Pete Stark, Workers Call on Congress to Bring Jobs Home
On Tuesday, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont) joined a diverse group of workers, labor activists and elected officials in Union City to rally in support of HR 5542, the Bring Jobs Home Act, which would provide tax incentives for U.S. companies that move jobs and business operations to the United States, and would also end tax loopholes that reward companies that ship jobs overseas.
“Stop giving companies a tax break when they leave, and start giving them an incentive to bring jobs home and create jobs here -- that’s what we have to do,” Rep. Stark said at the rally. “As you enjoy this great Independence Day holiday, know that we are working in Washington to rebuild our middle class and create security and opportunity for all of us.”
Northern California Lucky-Savemart Grocery Workers Vote to Authorize Strike
After months of contentious contract negotiations with little progress, thousands of grocery workers at Lucky and Savemart stores in northern California voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. In response to the strike vote, the company made the unprecedented move to continue the negotiations under the auspices of the federal mediator and work out a settlement by July 10.
The Lucky-Save Mart vote takes place on the heels of another strike vote at Raley’s-Nob Hill, where members also voted in large numbers to strike if necessary (though currently, they are on a day-to-day contract extension and the union has not called for a strike at this time). Negotiations with Safeway are still progressing and will continue this weekend.
Keep up with the latest news and updates on the NorCal grocery campaigns.
Thousands Hit the Streets to Stop the “Walmartization” of LA
In the largest-ever protest against Walmart in U.S. history, thousands of workers and activists from across the state and nation converged in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to speak out against the retail giant and the “Walmartization” of L.A. Union workers from every industry marched alongside Walmart and warehouse workers, Chinatown residents, community and civil rights groups, celebrities, elected officials, faith leaders and activists.
“I work hard at Walmart’s Crenshaw store, but even with a promotion, I still have to rely on public healthcare for my kids,” said Walmart associate Girshriela Green. “Working hard should mean getting ahead – but it doesn’t at Walmart. If we don’t put an end to the Walmart model of making a few people rich and keeping the rest of us struggling, we are going to live in a country with no middle class at all. For my kids and for my community, I’m speaking out for change at Walmart.”
“Walmart’s chief product is poverty. Walmart gets rich by keeping its employees poor; however, Walmart workers are organizing for decent wages and affordable benefits,” said Maria Elena Durazo of the LA County Federation of Labor. “They have the right to dignity and respect and Walmart can afford to do better. Until Walmart stops selling poverty, we don’t want it in Los Angeles.”
Check out more highlights from the march and rally.
This Week on “Labor’s Edge”
In the wake of the Supreme Court health care ruling, Charles Idelson of National Nurses United detailed the nurses’ plan to step up their campaign for comprehensive health care reform.
AFL-CIO’s Jackie Tortora shared a list of ways to host a “Made in America” 4th of July cookout.
We reported back from the “Bring Jobs Home” rally with Rep. Pete Stark.
Caroline O’Connor shared highlights from last weekend’s historic march against Wal-Mart in LA.
We celebrated the Legislature’s passage of the landmark Homeowners Bill of Rights.
Brian Leubitz opined on what the future of California could look like if the deceptive Special Exemptions Act ballot measure passes in November.
Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade Campaign reported back from the protest at the TPP trade negotiations in San Diego.
UFCW 5’s Mike Henneberry shared the latest news from the northern California grocery workers’ fight for a fair contract.