Building Sisterhood and Solidarity in the Central Valley

The Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) is the national women's organization within the labor movement. Our values are simple: Solidarity, involvement, dignity and justice. We strive to empower women workers to become leaders in their unions and communities, and encourage them to make a difference on the job, in government and in their own lives.

One of CLUW's founding goals is to use legislative action to create policy that is favorable to working women and their families. To further that goal, we’ve begun expanding in political hotbed areas, including California’s Central Valley. On November 12th, CLUW National President Karen See presented the charter for the new Central California Chapter, which includes San Joaquin, Calaveras, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties.

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It’s Up to Us—Together

by AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka

It’s a perilous time—but one that is also ripe with opportunity. Right now, the American people, who repeatedly have voiced their desire for change, are hungry for leadership.

Someone has to turn this economy around—fast, before working families lose more jobs, more homes, more opportunity for a decent future for their children. And it’s not going to be the political lap dogs for Wall Street and the rich—they’re not going to fix this economy. It’s not going to be the conservative ideologues or the haters.

This job falls to us—a united American labor movement. We have so much to do in the coming months and years. And it’s a core of our history, of all we stand for, that the way we win is by winning together.

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Kamala Harris’ Victory in AG Race Completes Clean Sweep in Historic Election

California's working people had an extra-nice Thanksgiving after receiving the news that Kamala Harris will be our state's next Attorney General. Harris is a forceful advocate for working people and a dynamic progressive leader. See Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski's statement on this historic win.

The California Labor Federation played an instrumental role in Harris’ victory. Over the last 10 days of the campaign, the Federation launched a broadcast and online media blitz reaching millions of voters with special emphasis on Los Angeles County. To view the Federation’s ad in support of Harris, click here.

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House Republicans Block Unemployment Benefits Extension

House Republicans yesterday blocked an effort to maintain federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, making a lapse in benefits all but certain when they expire at the end of the month.

House Democrats tried to speed the extension through by calling for a suspension of the rules, a procedure which requires a two-thirds majority. Although 258 members—a significant majority—supported the bill, the final vote fell short of the needed margin. The bill, H.R.6419, would have extended UI through February 2011 for those who have exhausted 26 weeks of insurance provided by states. It also would provide 100 percent federal funding to state unemployment programs to cover additional costs.

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Senate Republicans Block Paycheck Fairness Again

Just three days into the lame-duck Congress, Republicans returned to their obstructionist ways. Yesterday, all the Senate Republicans voted in lockstep to prevent the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182) from coming to the floor. The final vote, 58-41, fell two votes short of the 60 needed to break the Republican-imposed logjam. The House passed the bill last year. If enacted, it would help close the wage gap between women and men. Check out the roll call vote here.

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Feinstein and Boxer: Redirect High-Speed Rail Money to California

As newly elected Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio threaten to reject hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to build desperately needed high speed rail projects, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have stepped up to call on those funds to be redirected to California should they become available.

This is an excellent move by California's two Senators. The people of California have twice now shown their support for high speed rail, both with the approval of Prop 1A in November 2008 and their rejection of anti-HSR candidate Meg Whitman in the November 2010 election. Recent polling from across California and on the Peninsula shows HSR is still widely popular.

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Tell Congress: Extend Unemployment Help, Not Tax Cuts for the Rich

Congress is back in town and back to work today, and its first order of business should be maintaining the emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits program that is a lifeline for the millions and millions of long-term jobless workers. If the program is allowed to expire Nov. 30, 800,000 people will immediately lose that vital help to keep a roof over their head, food on the table and medicine in the cabinet—and 2 million will lose their UI by the end of the year.

On Tuesday, call your Senators toll-free at 1-877-662-2889 or click here and tell them Congress must act now and maintain benefits to the jobless, not extend tax cuts to the rich.

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Domestic Workers Seek Support from Unions

Many workers have a hard time balancing work and family, but the workers who take care of other people’s families have the hardest time of all. 

Until recently, it was practically impossible for domestic workers to fight back when treated unjustly. Labor laws explicitly excluded them from protection. In spite of these obstacles, domestic workers in New York celebrated a major victory in July when a new law extending state labor protections to home-based nannies and housekeepers went into effect. New York State’s law is the first of its kind in the United States. Now organizers are building momentum to enact a similar law in California.

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Binder: Labor Supported Efforts Have Key Impact on Election Results

By Rebecca Greenberg

This year, unions stepped up like never before to beat back Meg Whitman's corporate takeover of California. Over the course of the campaign, Labor engaged more than 2 million California union members with broad grassroots efforts that included 30,000 volunteers making millions of contacts — on the phone, at the door and at the worksite — to expose Whitman's Wall Street agenda. As a result of a massive program by the California Labor Federation, Central Labor Councils and affiliated unions, union members had a key impact on Tuesday’s election results.

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There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy

by Rebecca Greenberg

There’s no amount of money that can compete with real, grassroots enthusiasm and mobilization, and never has that been more apparent than it is today. Thanks to the commitment and activism of California’s working families, Main Street candidate JERRY BROWN triumphed over failed CEO Meg “Wall Street” Whitman by 13 points, despite Whitman’s record-breaking $180 million campaign. And Senator BARBARA BOXER’s victory over HP ex-CEO and notorious job killer Corporate Carly Fiorina ensured the continuation of a Democratic majority in the Senate.

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