Study: California Working Families Benefit from Landmark Paid Family Leave Law

The good news: Since California unions and community organizations helped pass Paid Family Leave legislation in 2002, over one million people have used the program, which provides up to six weeks of partial wage replacement for workers who take time off to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member.

A newly released report, Leaves That Pay: Employer and Worker Experiences with Paid Family Leave in California (Eileen Appelbaum & Ruth Milkman, 2011) shows that 91% of those who used the benefit said that it had a positive effect on their ability to care for a new baby, foster or adopted child. California’s Paid Family Leave program has doubled the median duration of breastfeeding for all new mothers who used it. And it also benefits new fathers, as the number of men using the program to bond with new babies has steadily increased since the law was first passed.

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San Diego Union Members Opt For a “Day On” on MLK Day” width=”147″ />The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council organized its third annual Martin Luther King Day service project on Monday, attracting nearly 200 union members and other community volunteers to the Rolando Park neighborhood of San Diego to pick up litter and clear weeds.

The Labor Council volunteers removed thousands of pounds of trash – including a mattress, a couch and other debris – from the neighborhood’s major thoroughfares.

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Big, Bad Blue Shield

for Californians for the third time since October—adding up to a rate increase as high as 59 percent for some policyholders.  And when Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones asked the corporation to wait 60 days so that he can review their rate increase and to give some breathing room to the 194,000 Blue Shield customers — many who are already struggling to afford health coverage — Blue Shield REFUSED to comply. To make matters even worse, Blue Shield is using the whole fiasco as a way to polish their public image which has been marred by a series of outrageous rate hikes.

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Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.—A Working Class Hero

“I AM A MAN,” the signs proclaimed in large, bold letters. They were held high, proudly and defiantly, by African-American men marching through the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968.

The marchers were striking union members, sanitation workers demanding that the city of Memphis formally recognize their union and thus grant them a voice in determining their wages, hours and working conditions.

Hundreds of supporters joined their daily marches, most notably Martin Luther King Jr. He had been with the 1,300 strikers from the very beginning of their bitter struggle. He had come to Memphis to support them despite threats that he might be killed if he did.

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Rants & Raves for the Week of January 10th

* GOP Senators balk on budget * Sen. La Malfa attacks high-speed rail * Banks profit off of record foreclosures * Congressional Republicans deny aid to states * Shady investors back away from state building sale *

* President Obama inspires nation in wake of Arizona tragedy * New Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones goes after greedy insurers * Krugman debunks the “Texas miracle” myth * State Board of Ed delays bad parts of “Race to the Top” * California commemorates Dr. King *

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Lack of Paid Sick Leave Is Family and Public Health Concern

More than 44 million private-sector workers in the United States—­42 percent of the private-sector workforce­—don’t have paid sick days they can use to recover from a common illness like the flu, according to new research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). According to report, the occupations most likely to have regular contact with the public—­food service and preparation, and personal care and service—­are among those least likely to provide paid sick days.

Recent surveys show three-quarters of Americans say paid sick leave should be a “basic workers’ right” and Congress should pass legislation that guarantees workers paid sick leave. More than 160 countries provide paid sick leave, but not the United States.

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly in San Francisco Hotel Dispute

For a few hours on Friday, January 7, San Francisco’s most contentious and longest-running labor dispute recalled scenes straight out of Hollywood, at least that’s how distinguished law professor Jack Getman saw it.

Speaking from a flat-bed truck parked in front of the city’s one-square block premier downtown Hilton hotel, the Earl E. Sheffield Regents Chair Professor at the University of Texas, fired away: “This is like an old western movie where there are good guys and bad guys, and,” pointing his finger toward the hotel doorway entrance, “here in San Francisco, clearly, Hilton management are the bad guys and hotel workers are the good guys.” The sidewalk picket audience of around 100 laughed and cheered, including Getman’s numerous colleagues from the most prominent law schools in the nation.

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Budget Proposal Opening Salvo of Important Debate

The budget proposal unveiled today by Gov. Jerry Brown is sure to ignite an epic debate about the future of California.

Brown’s proposal contains a number of cuts that are difficult to stomach. Many of these cuts would impact our state’s most vulnerable at a time when the economic crisis continues to batter our families. Major cuts to higher education are of great concern. How are we going to compete in a global economy unless we are producing a skilled, educated workforce ready to meet the challenges ahead?  But as bad as the proposed cuts are, it stands to get much worse unless voters approve an extension of taxes already in place.

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Wall Street Attacks Your Garbage Collector

. And now Wall Street wants to blame Main Street for the financial crisis our country is in. Big bankers taking home large bonuses are blaming the childcare workers and parking-meter collectors in this country, saying that their jobs are the reason we're in a recession.

If you stop to actually look at the people and jobs Wall Street is attacking, you realize that we need to stop the lies. Public-service workers make little money and do the hard jobs necessary to keep our country running.

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An Open Letter to Rep. Darrell Issa

reported Tuesday that last month you delivered letters to over 150 corporations, trade associations and conservative think tanks, requesting a list of their least favorite “existing and proposed regulations” that you, as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair, could help eliminate. The article further highlights your appeal for “suggestions on reforming identified regulations and the rulemaking process.”

Obviously there’s been some sort of mistake. As I’m sure you’re aware, Duke Energy, Toyota and Bayer—all recipients of your letter—are not residents of California’s gorgeous 49th district. Maybe you were thrown by the names of the American Petroleum Institute and the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), hoping they were consumer-driven nonprofits focused on improving the safety of oil production and transport—assuming you’d like to protect the 49th district’s world-class beaches and environmental beauty.

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