The State of Jobs on Labor Day 2011

, PhD

This Labor Day, two months after the second anniversary of our economic “recovery”, it seems appropriate to assess how job markets are faring in the United States and California. It is informative to note that the official dating committee of recessions, the National Bureau of Economic Research, evaluates several different economic indices when assessing the beginning and ending dates of recessions— job growth or loss is just one of those—which is why many workers are surprised that the recession already ended. But officially it has. By the National Bureau’s reckoning, the recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.

At its worst, between December 2007 and February 2010, the United States lost 8.7 million jobs—some 6.3 percent of all jobs. Two years into the United States’ recovery, the jobs deficit is still 4.9 percent, or 6.8 million jobs, which is much larger than any of the three previous recessions. In terms of the sheer losses of jobs compared to pre-recessionary employment, the U.S. labor market today is in a severe deficit.

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Nurses to Press Congress September 1st to Tax Wall Street to Heal America

, RN

As Congress and the White House continue to push an agenda of more deep cuts in spending at a time an economic crisis that is spinning out of control, registered nurses across the country will converge on some 60 Congress members in their local district offices September 1  to demand new priorities that help Main Street, not Wall Street.

RNs will hold soup kitchens, food drives, community speak outs, street theater, and other actions to call on legislators, Republicans and Democrats alike, to sign a pledge to “support a Wall Street transaction tax that will raise sufficient revenue to make Wall Street pay for the devastation it has caused on Main Street.”  In many locales we will be joined by many community and labor activists.

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Protecting the Rights of Pregnant Women

I gave birth to a healthy baby boy in July 2010. As I recovered from childbirth and later took time off to bond with my child, my union contract guaranteed that I wouldn’t lose pay or my family health coverage for the duration of my leave.

In 2009, Victoria Guillen, a dishwasher at the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Francisco, was pregnant too. Victoria had a difficult, high-risk pregnancy, was advised by her doctor to take a long leave of absence. However, unlike my experience, Victoria had to struggle with her employers for her rights. Her managers wanted her to return to work three days after her due date or not come back at all. Victoria couldn’t return to work three days after her c-section. She lost her job. She fought back with the support of her union UNITE HERE Local 2. After months of petitioning, Hyatt gave in and Victoria was allowed to return to her job. (Read Victoria’s story in her own words).

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United Farm Workers Embark on 200-Mile March to Support Fair Treatment for Farm Workers

Two months ago, Gov Brown vetoed the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act, a bill that would have made it easier for farm workers to join a union and speak up for their rights. Arevised version of the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act and another bill to ensure farm workers recieve overtime as other workers are expected to be introduced in the legislature shortly. And this time, the farm workers are using their marching feet to try and convince Gov. Jerry Brown to sign those two bills when they reach his desk.

Yesterday, the United Farm Workers kicked off a 200-mile “Fair Treatment For Farm Workers Now” march up the Central Valley to Sacramento. Over the next two weeks, there will be up to 50 full-time marchers who will be joined by farm workers and community folks throughout the route, and by thousands of farm workers when they arrive at the Capitol on Sept. 4th, Labor Day weekend.

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Sen. Boxer Joins Oakland Airport Construction Workers to Support FAA Reauthorization, Save Jobs

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Senator Barbara Boxer addressed a crowd of construction workers, airport officials and the media at a press conference organized by the Oakland Port Authority. It felt like déjà-vu, as I had stood there at the same spot less than three weeks earlier at a similar press conference that helped turn the tide in getting an FAA reauthorization extension bill approved, just as the politicians were about to go on their summer recess. But this time, there were a few things different: the gate to the job site was open, the crane was set up and working, there were close to 100 construction workers there, and Senator Barbara Boxer was in attendance.

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Jobs Committee Chair Bows to Corporate Interests, Stalls Job-Saving Bill

You’d think the priority of the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy would be creating and protecting jobs. You’d never know it after a committee vote today on AB 1278. By voting against AB 1278, Committee Chair V. Manuel Perez stalled important legislation that would have prevented companies from laying off workers to claim big tax breaks as part of the flawed Enterprise Zone program.

The bill, authored by Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), sought to protect jobs in today’s harsh economic environment while helping end the practice of rewarding companies that lay off workers with taxpayer subsidies. The bill failed to get out of the committee on a 3-3 vote. Perez joined the two Republicans on the committee in voting against the bill.

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Stand Up Against Attacks On Labor Allies And Progressive Organizations

We've seen the far right and conservative business interests attack some of the nation's most important organizations, from Planned Parenthood and Media Matters to public employee unions in Wisconsin. The latest target is the local group that helped create the living wage movement and defeated Wal-Mart at the ballot box: the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE).

LAANE is one of the country's leading advocates for good jobs and a healthy environment, and they have helped dozens of organizations across the U.S. enact policies to reduce poverty and pollution. As the late Ted Kennedy said, “LAANE's impressive efforts have changed the lives of countless working families.”

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Add Your Name to Union Plus Solidarity Map

, part of Union Privilege, the consumer benefits arm of the AFL-CIO, is inviting all working people to come together online to show America our strength and solidarity. If you support American workers, join other working people and be counted on the Union Plus Solidarity Map. The goal is to have 10,000 participants on Labor Day, Sept. 5. 

Click here to show support for all workers in North America by adding your name to the Solidarity Map and here to view the map, which is updated every 15 minutes.

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Senator Feinstein — Protect Social Security!

Three days following the 76th birthday of the creation of Social Security, 1,000 seniors, students, and community members rallied in front of Senator Feinstein’s San Francisco and LA offices yesterday, urging the Senator to be a champion on protecting Social Security. 

Members of the California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA) have been meeting with Senator Feinstein’s staff to stress the importance of  protecting Social Security. To put a human face on the importance of Social Security, CARA asked its members to submit stories to share with the Senator and her staff.

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