California Fines Carwashes $700,000

The California labor commissioner’s office investigated 247 carwashes in California, after the CLEAN Carwash Campaign reported numerous potential wage-and-hour violations based on complaints from workers.

The actions, which resulted in more than $700,000 in fines to the carwashes, made it clear that the carwash industry continues to violate even the most basic laws protecting workers. The industry’s widespread problems with compliance highlight the need for workers to have a union to help enforce standards in their workplace.

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Rants & Raves for the Week of May 24th

* Governor's flack ignores truth about the budget * House fails to vote on jobs bill * Report reveals deregulation and corruption contributed to BP oil spill * Sarah Palin gets $100k to speak at CSU *


* Assembly Democrats' new jobs budget combats Governor's cuts * Labor Commissioner charges carwashes for labor law violations * Bill to stop excessive health insurance rate hikes moves forward *

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Arnold’s Budget To Increase Unemployment by 2 Percentage Points

We've been arguing for a while that budget cuts merely worsen the state's real problem, which is the economic downturn. Instead of addressing unemployment, budget cuts are increasing the ranks of the unemployed. That further delays economic recovery and worsens the state budget deficit.

Now we have some academic backup for that common sense explanation. The UC Berkeley Labor Center has produced a study on the impact of Arnold's budget that shows just how much economic damage the governor's plans would do to the state, including eliminating 331,000 jobs and increasing the unemployment rate by nearly 2 percentage points.

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Assembly Democrats Put Up a Budget Worth Fighting For

Finally, there’s a budget proposal worth fighting for, and it couldn’t have come at a more critical time.

On Tuesday, Assembly Democrats, led by new Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez, proposed an innovative budget plan that closes the nearly $18 billion budget gap while focusing on jobs, as an alternative to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s job killing, all-cuts budget.

This proposal takes the economic high road by saving hundreds of thousands of jobs for teachers, police, firefighters and other workers, and creating jobs in the private sector that will spur economic growth and new revenues for the state without raising taxes on working families.

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California Is Not Like Greece; Greece Is Like California

By now, political observers have grown tired of the facile comparisons between the United States and Greece (they have a debt; we have a debt; exactly the same!). And that comparison is even more pronounced here in California, where I think it was part of the job description for our half-dozen remaining columnists to draw a parallel between the state’s budget woes and that of the European nation. Of course, these played out along the familiar lines (for high Broderist columnists) of “runaway spending” and “overwhelming debt.”

Now, it’s not going to surprise anyone that these columnists know nothing about Greece. Because if you actually study what got them into their debt problems, you’d find that spending is a lesser concern. The Center for American Progress report on Greece shows that their problems are more on the revenue side of the equation.

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Stop the Cuts, Close the Loopholes!

California was once the envy of the country for our top-notch schools and universities, infrastructure and quality of life. Now California may become the only state in the nation to completely eliminate welfare-to-work assistance and job training for low-income families and their children.

The Governor’s May revision to the state budget proposes $17.9 billion in cuts to state programs, including eliminating welfare-to-work. Over the last two years, state programs have been slashed by $32.5 billion—and there is no relief in sight from this Governor.

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Whitman Uses Bogus Claims of Fraud to Attack Workers, Seniors and People with Disabilities

Looks like desperation is beginning to set in over at Team Whitman headquarters. Monday in Roseville, Meg Whitman told a small audience that she would appoint a grand jury to root out the more than $7.5 billion in fraud she claims occurs annually in programs for the poor, seniors and people with disabilities. Tough talk. Just one problem, those numbers have absolutely no basis in reality.

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California Education Advocates take up the CAUSE to Stop Governor’s Cuts

California schools, colleges and universities have been ravaged in recent years by deep budget cuts that threaten to destroy public education in our state. Over the last two years alone, Governor Schwarzenegger has slashed more than $17 billion from our state’s schools, which are already drastically underfunded. And with the release of his May Revise of the state budget last week, the Governor proposed additional cuts to education that would jeopardize the futures of millions of students statewide.

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