California Labor Federation Secures $1 Million to Provide Green-Job Training for Public Transit Workers

The goal of California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program is to transform California’s fuel and vehicle types to meet the state’s climate change policies. The evolution to a low-carbon transportation economy requires a well-trained workforce to produce and distribute new alternative fuels and design, construct, install, operate, service, and maintain new fueling infrastructure and vehicles.

In late January, the Employment Training Panel (ETP) awarded $1.2 million in funding for just this type of training  — and almost $1 million of that $1.2 million was awarded to the California Labor Federation to support joint labor-management training programs in public transit. The funding will provide advanced technology training for about 900 bus and rail technicians and mechanics working with energy efficient and green transportation vehicles and equipment.

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Rants & Raves for the Week of February 21st

* GOP governors rely on prison labor to replace public sector workers * Enterpise Zones provide subsidies for high-end stores in wealthy areas * Wall Street CEO compensation skyrockets * Republicans launch anti-tax caucus to block voters from having a say in budget * Assemblyman Mansoor introduces Wisconsin-style attack on collective bargaining *

* New poll finds most oppose attacks on collective bargaining * Thousands take a stand in California for workers in Wisconsin * Celebrities to join tomorrow's rally in Madison * Workers beat back anti-union legislation in Ohio and Indiana * Labor Secretary Solis promotes workplace flexibility for hourly workers * New Boeing contract to bring 4,500 jobs to California * Poll reveals strong public support for high-speed rail *

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Top Ten Reasons to Shut Down Enterprise Zones


2. TOO EXPENSIVE: Taxpayers have spent $3.6 billion on the program since 1986 and the total cost has grown by 35% each year on average.

3. MONEY FOR BIG CORPORATIONS, NOT SMALL BUSINESS: Major corporations with assets over $1 billion, like Wells Fargo and Nordstrom’s, benefit the most from the program. Even big banks get a cut!

4. REWARDS HIGH TURNOVER: The hiring tax credit is for new “hires” not new jobs and the amount of the credit decreases the longer a worker stays on the job.

5. REWARDS LOW-WAGE JOBS: The hiring credit caps at 150% of minimum wage, meaning that employers have an incentive not to pay higher wages—it doesn’t increase how much free money they get.

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Thousands Take a Stand in Sacramento for Workers’ Rights in Wisconsin

For more than a week, tens of thousands have protested at the Wisconsin Capitol. The fight back spread to Ohio, Indiana and other states where politicians are attempting to strip workers of their voice.

And it didn’t stop there. All over the country, workers are standing in solidarity to beat back these attacks. Last night, the spirit of solidarity was tangible in Sacramento, as more than 3,000 workers descended on the State Capitol to send a message loud and clear across California and the country: An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

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San Diego Stands Up In Solidarity

Heavy rains and the beginning of a holiday weekend were not enough to keep 150 union brothers and sisters from joining the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council on February 19 to show our support for collective bargaining rights and our solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin and throughout the country who are currently under attack.

What is taking place in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, and elsewhere in the United States is a concerted attack on all workers at a time when the working class needs to be supported through job creation. It is a statement that corporate interests should trump all else, and it is setting an anti-worker tone for the rest of the country. It’s time to change that tone.

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In Wisconsin, Shades of the Thirties

By now, there's can be no doubting it: What's happening in Wisconsin is one of the most important labor developments in decades. In many ways, it's the 1930s again. Just as then, workers and their political allies and other supporters are demonstrating, picketing, marching, striking and otherwise forcefully demanding the basic civil right of collective bargaining ­ the unfettered right for workers' representatives to negotiate with employers on setting their wages, hours and working conditions.

There are key differences between then and now, however. In the thirties, the struggle was to win union rights for workers in the face of strong opposition from large financial interests, powerful conservative politicians and other anti-labor forces. Today, the struggle is to keep union rights from being taken away from workers by today's anti-union forces. Their main targets are public employees and the pensions and other benefits they won in past bargaining with their government employers.

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Rants & Raves for the Week of February 14th

* Study finds “right to work” laws bring lower wages * Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker lauches assault on workers” rights *  State Sen. Dutton goes after meal breaks and overtime pay * Dutton vows to block voters from having a say on budget *

* Assemblywoman Ma introduces paid sick days legislation * Rep Lee champions new unemployment insurance bill * Teamsters deliver valentines to stop 'sweetheart' Enteprise Zone deals * GOv. Brown rejects Schwarzenegger's plan to cut state worker wages during budget stalemates * California ready to accept Florida's high-speed rail funds *

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U.S. Department of Labor Addresses Workplace Flexibility at Pasadena Conference

by Caroline O'Connor

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor came to Pasadena for its 2nd National Women's Bureau conference on workplace flexibility, focusing in particular on dilemmas facing hourly workers. More than 400 participants from business, labor, government and the community were in attendance. The conference highlighted successful labor-management agreements where individual unions and coalitions of unions have negotiated workplace flexibility policies into their contracts.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis opened the conference by addressing the changes in our workplace and the need for flexibility. “The American workplace has truly evolved. We know workplace flexibility affects not only how we work and live, but how businesses and the country compete,” she said.

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Momentum Grows for Paid Sick Days in California

& Cathy Dang

What did you do for Valentine's Day?  On the most romantic day of the year and the highest grossing day for restaurants, chances are that you dined at a new or favorite restaurant. Chances are also high that the people who prepared, cooked, and served your food lack a basic workplace protection that makes restaurants healthy for workers and diners: Paid Sick Days.

Depending on what your job is, you might take for granted the fact that you can take off from work and still get paid if you are sick. But a report just released by Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) in Los Angeles shows that 89.4% of restaurant workers in the city do not have paid sick days and 58.3% have gone to work while sick. This Valentine's Day, Assembly member Fiona Ma introduced AB400 to guarantee all California workers the right to paid sick days – a long overdue policy that benefits both workers and businesses.

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