“The Fraud to End All Frauds”

Labor Day is a celebration of working people, brought to you by American unions.  It’s  a day we can appreciate each other, and all the gains we’ve made for working people. But everything we’ve won by standing together, Prop 32 threatens to take away.

LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik calls Prop 32 “the fraud to end all frauds.” The billionaire backers of this fraud are trying to eliminate the labor movement so they can strip away everything we’ve fought generations for: overtime pay, workplace safety, quality public education, prevailing wage, retirement security and middle class jobs.

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Power to the Purchase!

is asking shoppers to buy union-made products like Miller beer, Cheetos, Chips Ahoy cookies, or our All-American Golden Mojito (recipe below) while shopping for their Labor Day celebrations.

“This Labor Day, give your money the muscle to help rebuild America’s middle class,” says Cherri Senders, Founder of Labor 411, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive online directory of union-made goods and services. “Labor 411 has a simple premise: money is power. How you spend yours can make a difference for our country, our communities, our families and our friends. By purchasing goods and services made by companies that provide fair wages, safe working conditions and access to health care, you are helping protect and grow America’s middle class and joining the ethical consumer movement.”

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New Apprenticeship Training Program Paves the Way to High-Road Green Jobs

and Kelly Greer

On Friday, August 24th, the California Labor Federation was awarded more than half a million dollars for a pilot project to begin funding apprentice training programs across California. The new project will train workers for new high-road green jobs, and it will also help participating unions maintain and develop more of those quality jobs.

This is the 3rd CLF construction trades project funded by the California Employment Training Panel (ETP).  Unlike the previous ETP programs, the focus of the current program is support for the smaller Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) centers located in communities throughout the state

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AB 1855: Extending Basic Protections to Thousands of Warehouse Workers

, working in unsafe conditions for up to 16 hours a day for months at a time is not uncommon. Asking for safe and clean working conditions or a reasonable work schedule could mean losing his job. Last week, Daniel and I, along with other workers, went to Sacramento to urge the California Senate to pass AB 1855. They did, and if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, AB 1855, sponsored by Assemblymember Norma Torres and Sen. Juan Vargas, will extend basic protections to tens of thousands of warehouse workers.

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History Shows SB 863 Reform the Right Solution for Injured Workers

the California Labor Federation is co-sponsoring is bad for injured workers?  You shouldn’t be.  They have historically opposed virtually every effort by Labor and management to negotiate a more rational workers’ compensation system in California, which would provide injured workers with higher, more certain benefits while getting rid of some features in the system which, while not really helping injured workers, add major unnecessary costs for employers.

A little history might be useful here.  During his previous Governorship, Jerry Brown’s Director of Industrial Relations, Don Vial, proposed to create a more efficient workers’ compensation system by creating a pool of state doctors to evaluate permanent disability claims.  At that time, Labor and the applicants’ attorneys joined together to defeat this effort.  Then, just before he left office in 1982, Brown signed a benefit increase bill that was the product of a deal between Labor, the insurance industry and the applicants’ attorneys.

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Report: Poverty and the Rise of Temporary and Contingent Work

The nature of employment is changing. Employees are increasingly seen as liabilities rather than assets, and so workers are kept at arm's length from the companies they ultimately serve. Middle-class long-term jobs are shifting to precarious, low-wage work. These contingent relationships include temporary and subcontracted workers, whose ranks have been growing over the past two decades.

In California almost one-quarter of a million people worked in the temporary help services industry in 2010; another 37,000 people worked for employee leasing firms totaling 282,000 workers in these two industries. This accounted for approximately 2.0 percent of all non-farm employment in California in 2010, approximately the same ratio as for the U.S. as whole.

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SB 863: Real Workers’ Comp Reform to Reduce Costs and Help Injured Workers

Arnold Schwarzenegger rode into the Governor’s office in 2003 on the campaign promise to “fix” the workers’ compensation system. Every day in 2004, the media hammered home Schwarzenegger’s talking points that California’s highest-in-the-nation workers’ compensation costs were driving employers, and jobs, out of the state.  

In the face of a relentless media campaign and the threat of an extreme workers’ comp reform ballot measure, the Legislature passed SB 899 in 2004—a draconian bill that gutted the workers’ compensation system and created more pain and suffering for injured workers. Since SB 899, permanently disabled workers have seen their benefits slashed to the bone.  Medical treatment is delayed and denied by insurance companies, sometimes for over a year. As a result, injured workers are stuck at home battling insurance companies for the medical care they need, with no ability to return to work.

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Building a New Labor Movement for a New Generation

Let’s be frank: The labor movement is changing fast. In the next 5-10 years, almost half of all union members — roughly 5-7 million workers — will retire. And who is stepping in to keep the movement going? What does the future of Labor look like?

After decades of aggressive anti-union tactics by employers small and large and few signs of reprieve, young workers face serious barriers to unionization, and the future of the movement is anything but certain. If we want our movement to still be around in 10 or 20 or 50 years, we need to broaden our reach to young people, and we need to start training the leaders of tomorrow today.

That was the primary focus of last weekend’s Young Worker Leadership Institute (YWLI), a follow-up to last year’s Next Up Summit. The three-day workshop was organized by the AFL-CIO’s new Young Worker Advisory Council, and brought together young worker activists and aspiring leaders from Alaska to Florida to communicate, collaborate, inspire one another and hash out a strategic plan that will put us on the path to a stronger labor movement for the next generation.

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